Definition: a species that causes South American trypanosomiasis and is endemic in Mexico and various countries of Central and South America; transmission and infection are common only where the triatomine bug vector defecates while taking blood, because the bug's feces contain the infective agents that are scratched into the skin or brought in contact with mucosal surfaces. Trypomastigotes are found in the blood, and amastigotes occur intracellularly in clusters or colonies in the tissues; heart muscle fibers and cells of many other organs are attacked, the organisms not being restricted to macrophages as in visceral leishmaniasis; humans, dogs, cats, house rats, armadillos, bats, certain monkeys, and opossums are the usual vertebrate hosts; vectors are members of the family Triatominae. Also known as Schizotrypanum cruzi, a distinct generic designation widely used in the endemic regions.
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