Monday, December 12, 2011



I first became interested in this CHAGAs disease by an autobiography of an American Engineer hired by the Bogota military government in the late 19th century. Forget his name, but the book was memorable. His job to find the LOST EMERALD mines of the Conquistadors. Locations overgrown and forgotten for couple of hundred years. He did find the three mines eventually in remote mountains and forests. He was contracted to open them and work them for the revenue benefit of the then small populated country. It took him several years to do this. Bogota population then, was about 10,000 people, today 7 million. The emerald mines are basically a big open pit mine, digging deep into the ground. Manual Indian labor was used from local areas. Being the only cash jobs available, there were always plenty of workers. The thing was a mysterious disease would kill off workers at the rate of 75 or so per week. In one trip to Bogota, by mule train, to the railhead of a spur line, that ended in a vacation resort, which then went to Bogota, he managed to talk to a Doctor who was keeping up with research on tropical diseases, such as malaria, yellow fever, etc. The doctor told him some research had been published on this disease in Brazil, but was not yet confirmed. He said, it was believed to be caused by a bug. The mining engineer, promptly went out and bought 200 gallons of FLIT. You older people in Belize will remember FLIT and the European made hand spray cans we used back 50 years ago. Basically a DDT spray. Anyway, when he got his load of FLIT from the rail spur, by mule train into the mountainous hinterland, he sprayed the wooden workers dormitories, inside all over. Repeated this repeatedly for weeks. He eliminated the high death rate among mine workers. Basically he killed the CHINCHA bug, it was called locally, that would bite people at night while they slept.
The JICA is from JAPAN International Corporation Association and the documentary recently shown at AMANDALA PRESS by them, said that there were pockets of this deadly disease around Belize. The bugs are found to inhabit wooden buildings, thatch and palmetto buildings, etc. Our British Honduras, HEALTH DEPARTMENT used to come around and spray inside houses, back 40 to 50 years ago. They no longer do, far as I know? There is apparently also some question if DDT is used in Belize or not also? They say in Central America, the disease is a slow killer, taking about 20 years, though in the olden Emerald mines of Colombia, the disease kills in a week or two. Once you get it, you are stuck with it. Only prevention actually works. It is a sort of AFRICAN SLEEPING SICKNESS type disease. Effects all the organs. There are about 7 million people sick with CHAGAS in Latin America. Most countries have it. The disease has many local names. In Venezuela they call it CHIPO. It is also called: CHUPANCA, CHINCHORRO, VINCHUCA in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and in Paraguay they call it PITO. Here in Central America, they call it BARBEIRO , or the KISSING BUG.
Spraying of houses with DDT inside on the walls, is the only known preventative as far as I know? I´ve never heard of this disease in Belize, despite what JICA says about pockets here. But don´t really doubt it. I can well remember after Hurricane Hattie, the cockroaches by the MILLIONS upon MILLIONS, in a line a yard and a half wide and about 18 inches thick for days afterwards, which had floated up and congested to escape the HIGH FLOOD WATERS OF THE STORM SURGE on the side of the buildings remaining standing. I NEVER knew there were so many cockroaches in the world. Gave me shudders to see this writhing mass lining all wooden buildings in the port city at that time, for a number of days.
I´m aware, the HEALTH DEPARTMENT mobile truck spray our suburb community here in Hillview, any time there are rains and reports of mosquitoes, which is something I am very grateful for. It makes for pleasant living here. We used to get a visit by a yard inspector, looking for containers containing water also, but haven´t seen him for several years. Wonder if they still spray inside wood houses with DDT?
You will not know if you have CHAGAS, the sleeping sickness apparently.

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