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Due to considerable numbers of migrants from Chagas disease-endemic countries living in Catalonia, the Catalonian Health Department has recently implemented a screening programme for preventing congenital transmission, targeting Latin American pregnant women who attend antenatal consultations. Diagnosis of Trypanosoma cruzi infection in women is based on two positive serological tests. Screening of newborns from mothers with positive serology is based on a parasitological test during the first 48 hours of life and/or conventional serological analysis at the age of nine months. If either of these tests is positive, treatment with benznidazole is started following the World Health Organization's recommendations. The epidemiological surveillance of the programme is based on the Microbiological Reporting System of Catalonia, a well established network of laboratories. Once a positive case is reported, the responsible physician is asked to complete a structured epidemiological questionnaire. Clinical and demographic data are registered in the Voluntary Case Registry of Chagas Disease, a database administered by the Catalonian Health Department. It is expected that this programme will improve the understanding of the real burden of Chagas disease in the region. Furthermore, this initiative could encourage the implementation of similar programmes in other regions of Spain and even in other European countries. .


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