Kissing Bug that Sucks Blood Can Cause Deadly Disease – This Is The Way You Can Avoid It
The species “kissing bug,” which can cause Chagas disease, has been found for the first time in Delaware, according to a new report from the CDC.
Insects – which are technically known as triatomine insects – can carry a parasite named Trypanosoma cruzi in their intestines. Triatomine insects are often called kissing bugs because they sometimes bite humans around their mouths when they sleep. If Trypanosoma cruzi is transmitted to humans, it can cause Chagas disease, which in turn can cause strokes and heart disease.
“In July 2018, a family from Kent County, Delaware, contacted the Delaware Health Division (DPH) and the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) to ask for help in identifying an insect that had bit the face of their child when he watched television in his room during curfew, “said the new CDC statement. “Parents are worried about the possibility of transmitting disease from insects. After being investigated, the DPH learned that the family lived in a single, older family home near a heavily forested area. The window air conditioning unit is located in the bedroom where the bite occurred.”
The kissing bug doesn’t give you Chagas disease like mosquitoes give you a virus. Instead, Chagas disease is spread through kissing insect feces. “If a kissing insect bites you and has blood food and then defecates and then you scratch the area and rub it into a wound or rub your eyes, you can get infected,” Paula Stigler-Granados, PhD, assistant professor at the State University Faculty of Health Administration Texas, previously notified Health.
Therefore, your chances of getting infected are low, given the many events that need to occur before you can get Chagas disease – especially if you live in the US. Most people suffering from disease in the US contract it in Latin America, where parasites cause more common diseases. “Only a few cases of Chagas disease from contact with bugs have been documented in this country,” said the CDC statement. He added that until now there was no evidence of the existence of parasites that caused Chagas disease in Delaware.
Plus, these conditions affect people differently: Even if you get it, you may not experience any symptoms. Some people who suffer from Chagas disease will have flu-like illnesses that may last for several weeks. After that, patients may feel fine for years. “For some people this period lasts one year, for some 30 years, and for some people it’s a lifetime,” said Stigler-Granados.
But 30% to 40% of those who suffer from Chagas disease get sick later on. Cardiovascular disease, life-threatening arrhythmias, heart failure, heart attacks, and strokes are some of the complications that can be caused by Chagas disease. Experts have not yet discovered why some people experience complications later and others do not. “We still don’t really know what makes a person vulnerable to Chagas disease that is growing rapidly compared to never getting it at all,” said Stigler-Granados.
The CDC estimates that around 300,000 people in the US suffer from Chagas disease. But Stigler-Granados said some experts thought that this estimate was low and the correct amount was close to 1 million.
If you live in an area where kissing bugs have been observed, you should know what the kissing bug looks like, said Stigler-Granados. They are usually larger than one cent, and most have red or orange lines around their bodies.
The new CDC statement recommends taking several precautions to minimize the risk of you finding kissing bugs, including “placing outdoor lights from living quarters such as houses, dog cages, and chicken coops and turning off lights that are not used.” Keep the house away from rubbish, wood, piles of stones, and birds or other animal nests; repair any cracks in the wall or roof; and close the gap around your window air conditioning unit too.
What you need to pay attention to is this: Your chances of getting Chagas’ disease are very small – but it doesn’t hurt to continue kissing insects when you do spring cleaning this year.