Our blood supply is already safeguarded against AIDS, hepatitis, syphilis and West Nile virus. Now, add Chagas' disease to that list.
The Red Cross started testing for it Monday. Chagas' disease is caused by a parasite and leads to an enlarged heart or intestinal problems. It's often fatal. There's a rise in the number of cases because of increased travel to the U.S. from Mexico and Central and South America.
Candi Croft, American Red Cross, assures, "It's not a real common disease in the United States. It's kind of more of a let's get this testing started as an in case factor."
The test is only recommended by the Food and Drug Administration at this point and not required. Until then, the Red Cross will absorb the cost of the screening without passing it onto its hospital customers.