Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that a deadly bug has been reported in southern regions of the United States and you should be very careful. Although this bug looks harmless, it can carry a Trypanosoma cruzi parasite that causes Chagas disease. Typically the bugs are found in the southern United States, Mexico, Central America and South America. Worldwide there are almost 8 million people infected by this parasite.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that actually it is not easy for this bug to give a human Chagas disease. The disease is transmitted through the bug’s feces. A person can only get Chagas disease from this deadly bug if the feces get rubbed into a bite wound or enter through an exposed body part such as the mouth or eyes. The species typically found in southern regions in the United States looks similar to the species that are common to Chagas disease.
The tiny insect feeds on human blood much like a mosquito, but it is specific to biting the face of its victims. The bite from this deadly bug begins to itch and as the host scratches the bite introducing the pathogen. People who are bitten don’t normally feel sick, so they don’t seek medical care. But, it ends up causing heart disease in about 30% of those who are infected.
Known as the triatomine bug — or less informally the “kissing bug” — according to 11 – ALIVE News, the insect has been reported all across the southern regions of the United States.
Our native species are capable of carrying the Chagas Disease pathogen, but they don’t defecate as part of their feeding behavior therefore, the pathogen is not transmitted to humans. If you think you may have found one of the bugs you can bring the sample to your closest CDC office.
Specifically, the CDC states the following about “kissing bugs,” says NBC – 12 News:
The CDC says these bugs can live in cracks and holes indoors and in outdoor spaces including:
In rock, wood, brush piles, or beneath bark
Between rocky structures
In rodent nests or animal burrows
In outdoor dog houses or kennels
In chicken coops or houses
In order to keep these bugs away from you home, the CDC suggests:
Removing wood, brush, and rock piles near your house
Sealing cracks and gaps around windows, walls, roofs, and doors
Keeping your house and any outdoor pet resting areas clean
If possible, making sure yard lights are not close to your house
Using screens on doors and windows and repairing any holes or tears
Having pets sleep indoors, especially at night
If you are not sure, but you suspect that you found this dangerous bug, the CDC suggests do not touching touch or squash the bug. You should place a container on top of the bug, slide the bug inside, and fill it with rubbing alcohol or also you can freeze the bug in the container. After that take it to the local extension service, health department, or a university laboratory for further research.