Global health issues have no borders. Communicable diseases are responsible for almost half of all deaths in low-income countries (Heyman, 2008). Most deaths occur due to six infectious processes; “diarrheal diseases, acute respiratory infections, malaria and measles among children and AIDS and turberculosis among adults” (Heyman, 2008, p. 19). The low-income populations are most at risk due to poverty and the lack of access to health services. Anti-infective medications and vaccines are available for some but not all diseases or populations. The term global health refers to health issues that affect and impact populations in any part of the world (Nies & McEwen, 2011).
The impact on the world becomes apparent when there are unexpected outbreaks of disease for example severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and avian influenza the H1N1 virus. There is increased risk for communicable disease occurring after natural disasters or conflict in nations. People become displaced with an increased susceptibility due to lack of clean water, shelter, access to health services, access to food and major overcrowding (Heyman, 2008). The spread of disease becomes difficult to control; in natural disasters or conflicts there are different routes for diseases to cause outbreaks; contaminated water, overcrowding and vector-borne disease. Many vector-borne diseases are transmitted due to the environment. This paper will discuss a global health problem that is caused by a vector-borne pathogen. For the purpose of this paper a specific vector-borne disease known as Chagas disease will be assessed, evaluated and will appraise how nurses contribute to help relieve the health problem of Chagas disease. The disease is Trypanosomiasis there are two strains African Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) and American Trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) (Heyman, 2008).
A Global Health Problem: Vector-Borne Diseases
Chagas disease is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and it was first described by Dr. Charles Chagas in 1909. He was asked to treat migrant workers on the Brazilian railroad that were dying from a tropical disease in which Chagas was at the time an expert on malaria (Wallace, Miller, Beavis, & Baptista, 2013). The workers describe an insect that hid in the cracks of mud walls and came out at night and bit them in the face. The trypomastigote (a non-dividing extracellular form in mammalian blood and insect feces) the parasite inhabits host bugs and infection is spread to humans when the infected bug deposits feces on the skin. The parasite enters the bloodstream from the wound left from the bite. Other forms of transmission are from mother to child, blood transfusions, contaminated food and organ transplant (Wallace et al., 2013, para. 3).
What makes Chagas a vector-borne disease a global issue is the fact that there has been an increase in immigration to the United States and Europe from Mexico,...