According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a deadly bug has been reported in southern regions of the United States. You should be extremely careful. Even though the bug looks harmless, it can carry a Trypanosoma cruzi parasite that causes Chagas disease. These bugs are typically found in the southern United States, Mexico, Central America and South America. Almost 8 million people are infected by this parasite, worldwide.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 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. Below, you can see all the states that have reported the bug’s presence.
All the states where the “kissing bug” has been reported.
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:
Beneath porches Between rocky structures Under cement In rock, wood, brush piles, or beneath bark In rodent nests or animal burrows In outdoor dog houses or kennels
In chicken coops or houses