Awareness of chagas disease and socioeconomic characteristics of bolivian immigrants living in Sao Paulo, Brazil

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In this study which is part of a research project on Chagas disease (CD) among Bolivian immigrants in Sao Paulo, we describe socioeconomic characteristics, knowledge of CD and implications for acess to health care. We applied a structured questionnaire to a sample of 472 Bolivian adults (> 18 years) living in Sao Paulo and enrolled at the Barra Funda School Health Center. Participants’ median age was 28.5 years, 75.0% were from the Bolivian department of La Paz, and >90% worked in the garment industry. Respondents had lived in Sao Paulo for a median of 5.8 years. Only 169 (35.8%) were familiar with CD, while roughly half (50.4%) had lived in natural materials houses in Bolivia, 225 (47.7%) indicated familiarity with the vector, 23.9% had seen the vector in their homes in Bolivia, and 6.4% reported having been bitten by a triatomine bug. Factors associated with awareness of CD were analyzed by chi square tests, and those with p values <0.25 were included in a multivariable logistic regression model. In the multivariable logistic regression analysis, having a relative with CD (OR=4.3, 95% CI=1.5-12.0), having lived in a house with mud or wood walls (OR=0.4, 95% CI=0.2-0.8), and having heard of the triatomine bug, or vinchuca, (OR=10.0, 95% CI=5.1-19.5) were significantly associated with awareness of CD. This study shows a low familiarity with CD among Bolivian migrants living in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Raising awareness of the disease through specific communication strategies should be an essential component of public health programs to reduce the burden of CD in this and other vulnerable populations.




da Silva, R. A., Wanderley, D. M. V., Forsyth, C., Leite, R. M., Luna, E. J. de A., Carneiro Júnior, N., & Shikanai-Yasuda, M. A. (2020). Awareness of chagas disease and socioeconomic characteristics of bolivian immigrants living in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Revista Do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de Sao Paulo, 62, 1–9.

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