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Volume 16, Number 5—May 2010

Letter

Physician Awareness of Chagas Disease, USA

Kelly K. StimpertComments to Author  and Susan P. Montgomery
Author affiliations: Atlanta Research and Education Foundation, Atlanta, GA, USA (K.K. Stimpert); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta (K.K. Stimpert, S.P. Montgomery)

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Table

Reponses to MedscapeCME knowledge, attitudes, and practices survey questions reflecting lack of knowledge about Chagas disease, by specialty*

Response No. (%) respondents†
Cardiology, 
n = 280 Infectious disease, n = 167 OB/GYN, 
n = 292 Primary care, n = 278 Transplantation, n = 125
Never heard of Chagas disease‡ 63 (23) 31 (19) 138 (47) 38 (14) 35 (25)
Not at all confident of Chagas disease knowledge being up to date§ 87 (44) 31 (27) 86 (68) 101 (47) 41 (48)
Did not know parasite causes Chagas disease¶ 21 (16) 6 (5) 42 (33) 35 (16) 15 (17)
Did not know cardiac and/or gastrointestinal disease are manifestations of Chagas disease# 15 (8) 10 (9) 38 (30) 24 (11) 11 (13)
Never considers risk for Chagas disease in patients** 51 (34) 30 (29) 66 (60) 83 (43) 29 (39)
Did not know in what percentage of patients with chronic infection clinical disease develops†† 66 (37) 30 (28) 60 (56) 93 (48) 35 (47)
Did not know Chagas disease symptoms‡‡ 41 (23) 15 (14) 53 (48) 52 (27) 22 (29)

*OB/GYN, obstetrics/gynecology.
†Percentages are calculated based on number of respondents per question, by specialty.
‡Question 1: Have you heard of Chagas disease? Answer choices: yes, no.
§Question 2: How confident are you that your Chagas disease knowledge is up to date? Answer choices: very confident, confident, somewhat confident, not at all confident.
¶Question 3: Chagas disease is caused by a ___? Answer choices: bacterium, virus, parasite, fungus, I don’t know.
#Question 4: People with chronic Chagas disease may have (check all that apply)? Answer choices: cardiac conduction abnormalities, cardiomyopathy, megacolon, co-clinical manifestations, I don’t know.
**Question 5: How often do you consider the risk for Chagas disease in your patient population? Answer choices: never, rarely, sometimes, frequently, always.
††Question 6: Approximately what percentage of patients with chronic Chagas infection eventually develop clinical disease? Answer choices: <20%, 21%–40%, >40%, I don’t know.
‡‡Question 7: Chagas disease symptoms are? Answer choices: Acute for several weeks then immediately symptomatic, Acute for several weeks asymptomatic for years to decades then sometimes symptomatic, There are no symptoms of Chagas disease, I don’t know.

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