Trypanosoma cruzi is a blood flagellate that infects humans as its vertebrate host. The pathology caused is named Chagas disease and includes severe heart damage, nervous system damage, and damage to parts of the digestive tract (esophagus and colon). A Romana sign (hard swollen lump) appears on the vertebrate host due to the bite of an infected vector. The vector, Triatoma bugs, tends to bite around the tender eye of the human while the human sleeps. Four to five weeks after the appearance of the Romana sign, high temperature fevers develop. Asexual replication of the amastigote inside the body tissue causes the damage, as well as the massive immune system response mounted against the parasite by the human host.
A trypomastigote stage is passed from the vector to the human through posterior stage transmission (the Triatoma bug defecates near the bite wound). The parasite then enters host tissues and asexually replicates in an amastigote form. The cells eventually burst and trypomastigote forms enter the blood stream of the vertebrate host. Here, the trypomastigote can be picked up by the bite of another Triatoma bug. The trypomastigote becomes an amastigote in the vector and replicates by binary fission. The parasite travels to the midgut of the bug. Here, it is in an epimastigote form and multiplies. The parasite then moves to the hindgut and is found here in trypomastigote form. It is now ready to be defecated by the bug once again.
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