The “kissing bug”, also known as triatomine, holds within a disease that can evolve into chronic health problems and even death, in extreme cases, and it spreads the disease in an alarming way.
The bug bears a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi (sometimes referred to as T. cruzi by scientists), which can issue the Chagas disease in humans and pets. According to WebMMD, the bug is more common in Latin America but have been identified in Texas and numerous other U.S. states, and it bits people near their eyes or mouth, hence the kissing tag, more often while they sleep. The bites are generally painless and doesn’t cause the infection. It is actually transmitted through the bug’s feces which can infiltrate people’s body through eyes, nose, mouth or even wounds.
CDC says that the Chagas disease can last for life if it isn’t treated, and has an acute and a chronic stage. The person in the acute phase can have fevers or mild swelling, or even inflammation of heart muscles or in the brain in not so common cases.
After the acute stage, the affected person enter an extended asymptomatic stage. Even though most will never develop Chagas symptoms again, around 20 or 30 percent will start having serious medical problems such as heart rhythm abnormalities, dilated heart or dilated esophagus. Some of those cases even lead to death.
The disease can be cared for with aniparistic drugs, and the sooner after the contamination, the better.
FOUND FARTHER NORTH THAN EVER
A testing made by CDC disclosed that a triatomine bug bit a girl in Delaware last July, although the bug tested negative for T. cuzi and the girl had no sign of Chagas disease.
Triatomine bugshave been identified in 27 southernmost neighboring stated and Hawaii previously to the last week discovery which means that Delaware is the northernmost region in which the bugs have been reported.
The bug species that lives in the southwestern U.S. and Mexico is called Triatoma protracta, and is also known as the western bloodsucking conenose. According to a research made by University of California’s Statewide Integrated Pest Managemnet Program (IPM) this particular bug lives across California’s foothill regions, especially in Central Valley.
The good news is that the disease is pretty rare in the United States, IPM’s reasearch papers say. Cases of Chagas in California are extremely rare, as a report released in Clinical Infectious Diseases identified only seven human cases of Chagas between years 1955 and 2009, and of those just one disease occurring bite happened in California.
The bad news is that the disease carrying bugs could spread Chagas more often as the climate changes
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.