Chagas Disease Human Testing Guidance for Healthcare Providers
Chagas disease, caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, became reportable to DSHS in 2013. The resulting heightened awareness of this disease, in addition to the institution of blood donor screening, has led to increased requests for clinical testing by medical providers.
Serologic screening tests for chronic Chagas disease are available at several commercial laboratories and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) laboratory. Confirmatory serologic testing for chronic Chagas disease and molecular testing (PCR) for acute Chagas disease are available at the CDC. If you wish to test a patient for Chagas disease, please note the following:
- CDC will not accept serologic specimens for initial screening for chronic Chagas disease. Serologic screening should first be performed at a commercial laboratory or the DSHS laboratory.
- Patients testing positive at a commercial lab should have additional testing at the DSHS laboratory; all samples testing positive, equivocal, or inconclusive at DSHS will be forwarded to CDC for confirmatory testing.
- Providers wishing to submit samples to CDC for molecular testing (PCR) must consult with the DSHS Regional Zoonosis Control (ZC) program prior to sample submission.
Laboratory testing recommendations for Chagas disease can be complex. Below are links to a clinical testing algorithm and list of major laboratories that test for Chagas disease and contact information for DSHS Regional ZC staff:
- Chagas Disease Exposure and Testing Flowchart and List of Major Laboratories that Currently Perform Trypanosoma cruzi Testing (PDF)
- ZC Regional Contacts
For more information, please visit the CDC Chagas disease webpage at www.cdc.gov/parasites/chagas/.
To request a consultation prior to sample submission, or if you have other questions about Chagas disease, please contact the appropriate DSHS Regional Zoonosis Control office.