Chagas disease: A report of 17 suspected cases in Japan, 2012-2017

Kazuo Imai, Kazuhisa Misawa, Morichika Osa, Norihito Tarumoto, Jun Sakai, Kei Mikita, Yusuke Sayama, Yuji Fujikura, Akihiko Kawana, Takashi Murakami, Shigefumi Maesaki, Sachio Miura, Takuya Maeda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There are no reports on the prevalence of Chagas disease in Japan. Furthermore, screening programs and access to diagnosis and treatment have not been established. This study aimed to clarify the prevalence of Chagas disease among suspected cases in Japan and provide the reference data required for disease control. Methods: Seventeen patients with suspected Chagas disease in Japan between 2012 and 2017 were included in the study. Patients were diagnosed with Chagas disease based on the two different serological tests for antibodies to Trypanosoma cruzi. Real-Time polymerase chain reaction assay and blood culture techniques were performed to confirm T. cruzi parasitemia. Results: Of the 17 patients, 11 (64.7%) were immigrants from Latin America. Ultimately, 6 patients (35.3%) were diagnosed with Chagas disease. Of these 6 patients, median age was 53.5 years, 5 patients were immigrants from Latin American, and 1 was Japanese who had a congenital infection. T. cruzi parasitemia was confirmed in 4 patients (66.7%), and 5 (83.3%) were in the chronic phase (Chagas cardiomyopathy, 4; megacolon, 1). Two patients (33.3%) commenced benznidazole treatment. Conclusion: Our study showed that some patients of Chagas disease living in Japan are already in the chronic phase at diagnosis because of substantial diagnostic delays. Further epidemiological studies on the prevalence of Chagas disease and systematic screening programs for the Latin American population are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number38
JournalTropical Medicine and Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jun 13


  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Chagas disease
  • Epidemiology
  • Immigrants
  • Japan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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