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Efficacy of short-course treatment for prevention of congenital transmission of Chagas disease: A retrospective cohort study


Background: In regions with controlled vector transmission of T. cruzi, congenital transmission is the most frequent route of infection. Treatment with benznidazole (BZ) or nifurtimox (NF) for 60 days in girls and women of childbearing age showed to be effective in preventing mother to child transmission of this disease. Reports on short-course treatment (≤30 days) are scarce.

Methods: Retrospective cohort study. Offspring of women with Chagas disease who received short-course treatment (≤30 days) with BZ or NF, attended between 2003 and 2022, were evaluated. Parasitemia (microhaematocrit and/or PCR) was performed at <8 months of age, and serology (ELISA and IHA) at ≥8 months to rule out congenital infection.

Results: A total of 27 women receiving ≤30 days of treatment and their children were included in this study. NF was prescribed in 17/27 (63%) women, and BZ in 10/27 (37%). The mean duration of treatment was 29.2 days. None of the women experienced serious adverse events during treatment, and no laboratory abnormalities were observed. Forty infants born to these 27 treated women were included. All newborns were full term, with appropriate weight for their gestational age. No perinatal infectious diseases or complications were observed.

Discussion: Several studies have shown that treatment of infected girls and women of childbearing age for 60 days is an effective practice to prevent transplacental transmission of T. cruzi. Our study demonstrated that short-duration treatment (≤30 days) is effective and beneficial in preventing transplacental transmission of Chagas disease.

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Journal Article
Moscatelli G
Moroni S
Ramírez JC
Warszatska B
Fernanda L
González N
Rabinovich A
Altcheh J
Reithinger R