Chagas disease is a parasitic infection caused by the parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi, which is native to Latin America. Chagas disease is contagious and can be spread through a bite from a triatomine bug, contaminated food, organ donation, blood transfusion, or from mother to an unborn child during pregnancy. Symptoms that may manifest in affected individuals include fever, body aches, appetite loss, vomiting, swollen eyelid, fatigue, headache, diarrhea, and a rash. The symptoms of Chagas disease usually last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, but the pathogen stays in the body for decades without treatment. This parasite causes an immune response in the body that is variable and complex in comparison to other pathogens and parasites. The levels of lymphocytes become unbalanced in the immunity involved organs during this infection, with different levels in the spleen, thymus, and blood. These imbalances are attributed to the different rates of expansion of lymphocytes in each respective organ. The rate of lymphocyte expansion in the blood, spleen, and thymus are dictated by the production of cytokines in each organ and rate of cell apoptosis. It is also suggested that individuals with Chagas disease have trouble clearing out antigen-specific lymphocytes, which can also contribute to the development of lymphocytosis.
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