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Monday, February 20, 2012 - 8:00am

Vaccine Would Prevent Pet Disease

A University of Georgia researcher is close to developing the first ever Chagas disease vaccine for pets that will help prevent the spread of the disease to humans.

Rick Tarleton used a five-year, $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to look into the deadly parasitic infection that is the single most common cause of congestive heart failure and sudden death in the world.

Chagas is caused by a parasite and it's particularly widespread among young-to-middle-age adults in endemic areas of South America.

Tarleton's vaccine uses a live parasite that has been genetically modified. He said using this technique on animals will significantly reduce the number of human infections.