The Kissing Bug Can Cause the Deadly “Chagas” Disease

the kissing bug

Insects are a problem for many people around the United States.

The most common pests tend to be cockroaches, ants and mosquitos.

However, a fairly new pest has been making its presence known in some parts of the country.

This particular bug is of an invasive species and has the propensity of making people sick.

It is known as the kissing bug.

the kissing bug
photo: heroviral

What is a Kissing Bug?

The kissing bug carries several nicknames, including vampire bug, assassin bug and conenose bug.

Its official name is triatominae.

According to Texas A&M Agriculture & Life Science, some kissing bug insects may be infected with Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease.

kissing bugs
Photo: Sonja Kjos

A new problem for the United States, the insect is typically found in the southern US border, Africa, Asia and Australia. However, the kissing bug has reportedly been seen recently in areas farther north.

They are typically found in the southern United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America (as far south as southern Argentina). The map below details triatomine occurrence by U.S. state.
They are typically found in the southern United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America (as far south as southern Argentina). The map below details triatomine occurrence by U.S. state.

Like fellow insects the tick and bed bug, the kissing bug is a blood sucking pest.

They have recently evolved and have been entering homes throughout the United States to feed on the blood of humans and other animals.

Like bed bugs, they are active at night and are more likely to attack people while they are asleep.

However, they are even more harmful than bed bugs, as their bite can leave a parasite under the skin of their victims that can lead to an illness called Chagas disease.

 Triatomine Bugs in all Life Stages
Various triatomine or “kissing” bugs in all life stages, from eggs to nymphs to fully grown adults. A variety of bug species, that share similar traits, are pictured.

Chagas Disease Symptoms

People who are bitten by a kissing bug that spreads Chagas disease can experience a number of symptoms.

Initially, the symptoms of the illness are mild and resemble those that come about with the flu.

Unfortunately, there are much more serious symptoms that can develop that affect around one third of people who contract Chagas disease.

More mild symptoms, according to Mayo Clinic, includes fever, fatigue, body aches, rash, swollen glands and a loss of appetite.

In cases that are more severe, a person can experience much worse symptoms, including constipation, abdominal pain, irregular heartbeat and even cardiac arrest.

Chagas Disease Symptoms
photo: CDC

The kissing bug is a beetle that can be distinguished by its small appearance and dark color.

It has six legs and a light-colored gold pattern on its back.

Kissing bugs have bodies that taper toward the head, almost in a teardrop shape.

If you think you may have been bitten by a kissing bug, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Avoid scratching or rubbing the bite or touching your eyes.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Chagas disease, so that you means the best thing you can do is to minimize the risk of infection.

‘Kissing Bug’ Infections Are Growing In Texas, Health Officials Say

Don’t risk becoming infected by the kissing bug. Please SHARE this crucial info with your family and friends!

 

56

Leave a comment