Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version

February 2003


Citation: Reinhard K, Fink TM, Skiles J (2003) A case of megacolon in Rio Grande Valley as a possible case of Chagas disease. Memorias do Instituto do Oswaldo Cruz 98: 165-172.


We have been searching for evidence of Chagas disease in mummified human remains. Specifically, we have looked for evidence of alteration of intestinal or fecal morphology consistent with megacolon, a condition associated with Chagas disease. One prehistoric individual recovered from the Chihuahuan Desert near the Rio Grande exhibits such pathology. We present documentation of this case. We are certain that this individual presents a profoundly altered large intestinal tract and we suggest that further research should focus on confirmation of a diagnosis of Chagas disease. We propose that the prehistoric activity and dietary patterns in Chihuahua Desert hunter/gatherers promoted the pathoecology of Chagas disease.