Prenatal diagnosis and management of Trypanosoma cruzi infection can significantly reduce its associated morbidity and mortality and contribute to the eradication of Chagas' disease. The objective of this study is to explore the seroprevalence of this parasite among pregnant women attending antenatal care in public health facilities in Maceió, Brazil.METHODS:
A cross-sectional study was conducted with pregnant women attending primary care units for antenatal care between June 2007 and May 2012. Analyses of medical records and mandatory notification data were performed for serologically confirmed patients with T. cruzi infection and their offspring. Measures of central tendency and dispersion were calculated and analysis of variance was used to identify the discrepancy between obstetric variables and serologic results.RESULTS:
A total of 54,813 pregnant women participated and the prevalence Chagas' disease was 0.12%. Compared with non-infected patients (mean [SD] age: 28.8 [6.14] years), the infected group (30.2 [7.6] years) had a higher incidence of spontaneous abortion (52% versus 34% of pregnant women; P=.0185). The chagasic patients' mean gestational age at first antenatal visit was 17.1±7.6 weeks. Four (5.9%) of them had syphilis; however, no other co-infection was reported. Only 42.6% (29) of the infants from the infected mothers underwent diagnostic examinations, all of them with negative results.CONCLUSION:
Chagas' disease is associated with poor maternal and fetal outcomes. Vertical transmission may occur in any part of the world, resulting from increasing population mobility; hence well-established surveillance programs are warranted -which involves testing pregnant women at risk of infection and all children born to seropositive mothers.