American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. vol:54 issue:2 pages:154-61
Chagas' disease represents a major public health problem in Latin America. In endemic areas, it is important to detect acute and even asymptomatic infections in children so that specific therapy can be started immediately. We studied 203 sera from children from the region of Cochabamba, Bolivia. A high percentage of seropositive individuals was found in the three villages studies. Levels of alpha-2 macroglobulin (A2M) and C-reactive protein (CRP) increased in a significant number of children with acute Chagas' disease. The combined analysis of serologic and biochemical parameters can define the different stages of acute infection by Trypanosoma cruzi: 1) an early stage, with an increase only in specific immunoglobulin M (IgM) levels; 2) intermediate stages, with high specific IgM and IgG levels and/or high anti-galactose (anti-Gal) levels and increased A2M and/or CRP levels; and 3) a late acute stage, with low IgM levels but high A2M, CRP, anti-Gal, and specific IgG levels. The detection of high IgG levels alone is indicative of the chronic/indeterminate stage of Chagas' disease. We also show serologic differences between seropositive asymptomatic villagers and symptomatic patients undergoing medical care; asymptomatic cases presented higher levels of A2M and lower levels of specific antibodies.