Chagas disease is one of the world's most hidden diseases; most people do not realize they are infected, as symptoms may not occur for many years. It is also hidden because it predominantly affects vulnerable communities with limited access to healthcare. In 2020, the World Health Organization declared April 14th as World Chagas Day to bring more attention to this neglected disease. The theme for this year's World Chagas Day is "Time to integrate Chagas disease into primary health care."
Here in the United States, over 300,000 people are estimated have the infection, but less than 1% have been tested. California is the state with the highest number of affected people, and also home to important programs involved in research and healthcare for the disease. Brazil has a long history of public health advances in Chagas disease, starting with the original discovery of the infection by Carlos Chagas in 1909, and continuing today with a broad range of multidisciplinary research. This event, co-organized by the Brazilian Consulate, San Diego State University,and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, will highlight advances and remaining challenges for Chagas disease and the many people it impacts throughout the world.