Dr. Jean Jannin, World Health Organization,  

“Bayer and the WHO
have been partners
since 2004 in the
fight against
Chagas disease.”

Chagas disease

Cycles of chagas disease

Chagas – the underestimated danger

According to World Health Organization (WHO) about ten million people are infected with Chagas disease, and more than 10,000 die each year. The disease is widespread, especially in Latin America, where almost a quarter of the population are affected in some areas.

The effects are dramatic, both for patients and their families and for the economic performance of the countries affected. The WHO estimates the productivity losses caused by Chagas disease at 1.2 billion dollars per annum.

Carrier of Chagas-disease

Early treatment can save lives

The pathogen – the single-cell parasite Trypanosoma cruzi – is spread by assassin bugs, which find ideal living conditions in the cracks of unplastered mud huts. This means that people in simple living conditions are most at risk.

Minor, flu-like symptoms appear directly after infection. However, they are so non-specific that they are often misinterpreted – yet the disease is completely curable with drugs at this stage. About two months later, Chagas disease enters a chronic stage that progresses for years, leading to severe organ damage and finally to sudden cardiac death.

Education and early diagnosis and treatment are key in the fight against Chagas disease.

Bayer supports the WHO in the fight against Chagas disease.

Bayer HealthCare supplies the WHO with a drug containing an active ingredient called nifurtimox to treat Chagas disease. Nifurtimox is on the WHO’s list of "Essential Medicines." Bayer Healthcare, the only manufacturer of nifurtimox worldwide, has given the WHO a permanent supply guarantee for the drug.

Since 2004 Bayer HealthCare has furthermore been supporting the WHO in the fight against Chagas disease with drugs and financial assistance for logistics and distribution. In 2011 the agreement was renewed early, doubling the number of tablets provided to 1 million per year. At the same time, Bayer is researching a special dosage for children, since they are particularly vulnerable.

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  • Number of cases worldwide: Approx. 7-8 million, primarily in Latin America


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