Health: Monitoring How The Chagas Disease Is Damaging South America.

Table of Contents

A preoccupying health situation 😷

The Chagas disease is a parasitic infection that occurs in the tropical regions of South and Central America. It is caused by the sting of a certain type of bedbugs called vinchucas (Triatominae). It is considered one of the most serious plagues in South America with dengue, zika, and chikungunya. According to the WHO, Chagas disease currently affects from 8 to 10 million people, with an estimated 100 million others (25% of the Latin American population) potentially at risk of contracting the disease, killing an estimated 50,000 people each year.

We wanted to take a closer look at what Latinos know about this disease and what their concerns & fears are. More specifically, we aim to study deeper:

  • If the population is aware of the existence of the plague
  • if they are looking for treatments/vaccines
  • if there are disparities between South American countries
💉 2,26M of searches for the disease in 2021
💉 +61,3% of searches on last 6 months
Volume of search for "vinchuca" insect last 6 months in South America

Various search queries for a common issue 📚

The infection may have different names, but our platform is available to detect all the appellations depending on the local language and culture. We have guided our study by surveying Spanish and Portuguese expressions to develop the widest and most exhaustive vision of the plague.

Top #1 search in every latin country

A continental issue with disparities 🗺

The disease occurs in almost all of the Americas, from the southern United States to northern Argentina, mostly in poor rural areas of Central and South America. 

Let’s have a look on the amount of online searches by country, in all Latin America – what we refer to as ‘local affinity’. We see that sub-amazonian countries present the highest affinity with the disease (amount of searches for 100.000 inhabitants). 

These data are in accord with the infectious geographic distribution elaborated by the WHO, who highlights the fact that dense vegetation, such as rainforest, and urban habitats do not provide ideal conditions for the establishment of the human transmission cycle.. 

Given their population, countries manifesting the biggest fear to the disease are:

Chile: 182 searches per 100.000 inhabitants

Argentina: 176 searches per 100.000 inhabitants

Paraguay: 155 searches per 100.000 inhabitants

Affinity distribution in South America for the disease

Evolution of the infection along the year 📈

While the world was shaken by the Covid-19 epidemic, other infections continued to spread across countries. Exactly like many infections and diseases, the Chagas plague presents some seasonality. People tend to be particularly concerned about symptoms during the spring period:

→ 38,000 searches about Chagas disease symptoms in May

→ It’s 2,1x more than the monthly mean

Searches related to the plague evolution along 2021 in South America

Is it coming to Europe? 🇪🇺

Non-endemic countries (including Europe) have many imported cases, WHO considers this amount is situated probably around 26,000 cases in Spain, around 5,000 in France and Italy, and around 1,500 in Germany and Swiss. Our platform also monitored those cases of importation in Europe, indeed:

In terms of volume of search, if Spain was in South America it would be the 6th country to search for Chagas disease. Before countries like Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador.

In Spain & Portugal:

  • 175,000 searches in Spain in 2021
  • 118,000 searches in Portugal in 2021
  • Portugal has the 6th highest. search affinity to the disease

Which consequences? Main symptoms? 🤒

The onset phase corresponds to an incubation period of one to two weeks (passage of parasites into the circulating blood). It is often asymptomatic, goes unnoticed, or consists of non-specific symptoms: fever, anorexia, headache.

In the chronic symptomatic phase, late complications occur in the years or even decades following the initial infection. These complications, of varying severity, affect the heart, the digestive system, and the nervous system.

→ The main worry concerns heart condition, with very localized pains: 88,5% of searches

→ Gastro-intestinal condition: 5,9%

→ Swollen eyelid: 3%

→ Skin rash: 2,6%

Symptom distribution searches in South America

Are people looking for solutions? 💊

Drugs used to treat Chagas disease are usually only effective if administered during the acute phase of infection. The molecules of choice are azole or nitro derivatives such as benznidazole or nifurtimox.

With our platform, we were able to survey that people tend to prefer the solution offered by nifurtimox.

💊 2,16x more searched in Chile

💊 2x more searched in Ecuador

💊 1,7x more searched in Peru

Search evolution for drugs against chagas along 2021

Disparities & alternative worries

Trajaan can help you survey every need & thought of your customers. With the local trends distribution you can visualize many consumer behavior. For example, in terms of volume we see that the intentions behind the queries are not the same depending on the country you are:

🎯 Colombia, Guyana Chile, Argentina, Suriname, and Uruguay are mostly searching for the cause of the disease, they are looking for an explanation related to the sting or the insect that is spreading the infection.

🎯 Peru, Paraguay, Venezuela, and Brazil, are mostly searching for information about symptoms of the disease

🎯 Bolivia & Ecuador are mostly looking for a treatment

Top #1 intention behind queries in each country

Is the future brighter? Can vaccines help fight the disease? 👨‍🔬

There are currently no vaccines available for Chagas disease. Some studies, conducted in mouse, dog, and non-human primate models, have been able to show some degree of efficacy, but they are difficult to compare, difficult to evaluate and extrapolate to humans, and have not gone beyond the preclinical stage.

However, we noticed that people express a true demand for vaccines with a monthly steady amount of searches, around 800 per month.

Evolution of searches related to chagas vaccine along 2021

How to fight against vinchucas without vaccines? ⚔️

Just as mosquitos, bedbugs are the main propagators of many diseases in South America. People are already aware of their dangerousness. Indeed, many American inhabitants are looking for alternative ways to fight against the plague other than drugs & vaccines.

⚔️ 9.600 searches are made every month for testing & physiopathology (the study of the disordered physiological processes that cause, result from, or are otherwise associated with a disease or injury)

⚔️ 4.500 searches are made monthly to know more about antiparasitic. Prevention is based on control of the disease using aerosols and paints containing insecticides, and by improving housing and sanitary conditions in rural areas.

⚔️ 120 searches are made monthly to carry out a xenodiagnostic (method used to document the presence of infectious disease microorganisms or pathogens)


Searches for prevention solutions distribution in South America
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