Table 15.

Characteristics of the reported cases of laboratory-acquired infection with Trypanosoma cruzia

CharacteristicNo. (%) of cases (n = 65)b
Decade of occurrence (if known) or publication
 1930s1 (1.5; 4.3)
 1940s0
 1950s0
 1960s7 (10.8; 30.4)
 1970s3 (4.6; 13.0)
 1980s4 (6.2; 17.4)
 1990s8 (12.3; 34.8)
 Unknown42 (64.6; NAg)
Country or region of occurrence
 Unknown39 (60.0; NA)
 Latin America15 (23.1; 57.7)
 United States8 (12.3; 30.8)
 Europe3 (4.6; 11.5)
Route of exposure
 No available information38 (58.5; NA)
 Parenteral11 (16.9; 40.7)
 No accident recognized7 (10.8; 25.9)
 Mucous membrane3 (4.6; 11.1)
 Nonintact skin (includes cuticle)2 (3.1; 7.4)
 Vector-borne transmission2 (3.1; 7.4)c
 Bite1 (1.5; 3.7)d
 Skin, other1 (1.5; 3.7)e
Clinical manifestations
 Asymptomatic cases2 (3.1; 7.7)
 Symptomatic cases24 (36.9; 92.3)
 Unknown clinical status39 (60.0; NA)
 Severe cases9 (13.8; 34.6)f
 Fatal cases1 (1.5; 3.8)
  • a The median incubation period was 7.5 days (range, 1 to 24 days) for infections due to all exposures (12 cases with available data) and 12 days (range, 5 to 24 days) for the subset of infections due to parenteral exposures (n = 7).

  • b Percentages are also provided using the number of cases with available data as the denominator. These numbers are 23 for decade of occurrence, 26 for country or region of occurrence, 27 for route of exposure, and 26 for clinical manifestations.

  • c For both cases, infection was attributed to exposure to metacyclic trypomastigotes from infected triatomine bugs (22). Whether the laboratorians were exposed to the bugs per se was not specified. The case of a laboratorian who had ocular mucosal contact with triatomine feces (79) was classified as a case of mucosal transmission; no details were provided in the case report about whether the laboratorian had contact with the bug per se or only its feces.

  • d The laboratorian was bitten by an uninfected mouse (see the text). Presumably, the wound became contaminated.

  • e The laboratorian apparently got infected murine blood on his face when a centrifuge tube broke (see the text); whether this represented skin or mucosal contact or transmission by aerosol or droplets is unclear.

  • f Nine persons had signs of cardiac or neurologic involvement, one of whom died (Brener, Letter).

  • g NA, not applicable.