Barber, The Transmitter Of Chagas Disease

Chagas disease is a disease that occurs mainly in South America, and the main cause of transmission is barber.
Barber, the transmitter of Chagas disease

Chagas disease is mainly present in rural areas of South America, and almost all the blame for its spread lies with a small insect: the barber.

‘Barbeiro’, ‘chupão’, procotó, potó,… The barber has a multitude of nicknames, since in each region he is colloquially called in a different way. It usually stings the face or neck, hence its name.

When biting a person, it usually leaves contaminated excrement on the surface of the skin, which can reach the body through scratching, touching the eyes, or simply if there is a small cut in the skin.

How does barber transmit Chagas disease?

The cause of this problem is a parasitic microorganism found in barber feces, called Trypanosoma cruzi . A carrier insect is one that, when biting, defecates in the same bloody area where the bite is taking place.

barber seen up close

For a barber to be able to chop effectively, he needs approximately 20 minutes. During the day, with the person on the move, this would be practically impossible; then, they use the silence of the night to carry out the attack while the person is sleeping.

As it is very common for this insect to bite the face, the contagion is more effective, as we usually scratch the area and thus, unintentionally, spread the feces on top of the bite itself. Contagion can also occur when touching the eyes or nose with contaminated hands.

One of the animals most affected by the barber’s bite are birds, which are its main means of transport to reach cities.

Pigeons, in particular, are the species that suffer most from this parasite, and it is rare for cities that do not have thousands of these birds flying over their streets.

Chagas disease symptoms

It is an easy disease to treat and cure, with initial symptoms as common as fever, vomiting, body discomfort, diarrhea, rash, swollen eyelids or pain in different parts of the body such as the neck or head.

Chagas disease symptoms

If treated in time, all consequences will be reduced to these symptoms, but if this is not done, the situation can worsen to the point of causing irregular heartbeats that can lead to sudden death.

It also increases your chances of suffering a stroke, poor pumping due to an enlarged heart, or digestive system problems that lead to significant constipation.

Given these common symptoms, it is necessary to have a blood test to diagnose the disease. If diagnosed, more tests are usually performed in different organs to rule out possible errors.

How to prevent the spread of the disease?

Currently, there is no medicine or vaccine capable of preventing the development of Chagas disease in our body.

The only thing that can be done is to avoid sleeping in areas that are too exposed to nature or with thatched roofs.

The best option is to use insect repellent products, especially at bedtime, which is when this insect usually attacks. In any case, if we find a prick on the face and suspect it may be from a barber, the best thing to do is see a doctor.

Other methods of contagion besides the barber

In addition to being transmitted through the bite of the insect, this disease can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy, through blood transfusions containing this microorganism, or orally, although the most common and dangerous way is through of the dreaded barber.

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