INTRODUCTION: Chagas disease remains a severe public health problem in Latin America, despite control over its transmission. This study evaluated the prevalence of Chagas disease in the Serra Azul district, in the central-western region of the State of Minas Gerais, through identifying electrocardiographic (EKG) abnormalities among serologically positive individuals. METHODS: Specific serological tests for Chagas disease were carried out on 676 individuals (48% of the population). Clinical examinations and EKGs were performed on the serologically positive population. A control group was selected for comparison with the EKG data. RESULTS: The study population lived mainly in rural areas, with low sociocultural level. Forty subjects were positive (prevalence of 2.1%). The individuals with Chagas disease were in an older age group (67 vs. 39 years; p < 0.001). EKG abnormalities were frequent among the individuals with Chagas disease (79%). Among the seropositive individuals, the EKGs showed greater prevalence of ventricular premature beats and conduction disorder of the right branch alone or in association with anterosuperior division blockage, in relation to the controls. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of Chagas disease in the Serra Azul district was 2.1%. The seropositive individuals were in an older group, thus suggesting that transmission had been brought under control. EKG abnormalities occurred frequently, and conduction disorders of the right branch predominated.
Chagas disease; Serological test for Trypanosoma cruzi; Prevalence; Electrocardiogram