The first reported case of congenital Chagas disease in the United States should alert clinicians to screen pregnant women from endemic areas—Mexico, Central America, and South America—who may be at high risk for infection with the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes the disease.
Congenital transmission was confirmed in a boy born in August 2010 to a woman who recently had moved to the United States from Bolivia. The woman had reported that she had no chronic illnesses, but her newborn had ascites, pleural effusion, and pericardial effusion. Blood tests for several infectious agents, including Toxoplasma gondii, rubella virus, and cytomegalovirus, yielded negative results (MMWR. 2012;61:477-479).