Read about a potential new treatment for Chagas disease discovered by NIAID-supported researchers.
This region includes the countries of North and South America and island nations in their adjacent waters. This region includes three of the largest countries in the world, as well as some of the smallest.
While this region is virtually free of some infectious diseases, including poliomyelitis and measles, many other infectious diseases remain endemic and epidemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the current pandemic of 2009 H1N1 influenza started in the Americas and spread rapidly to other parts of the world. In 2008, Brazil experienced an explosive outbreak of the mosquito-borne illness, dengue fever. In Canada, the Joint United Nations Program for HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimates that 73,000 people were living with HIV in 2007, and reports show that this number is increasing each year. In January 2010, Haiti experienced a devastating earthquake that damaged and destroyed several buildings, including hospitals. The country continues to face many health challenges, particularly the spread of cholera in the aftermath of the earthquake.
NIAID priorities in the Americas include research on HIV/AIDS, influenza, tuberculosis, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases, particularly Chagas disease which is endemic only in Central and South America. All NIAID activities in this region aim to improve understanding of these diseases and to translate new discoveries into methods of preventing, diagnosing, and treating them.
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Last Updated March 29, 2013
Last Reviewed October 15, 2012