Published: Sat, April 27, 2019
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

First "kissing bug" in DE confirmed


But the insect has found new prominence in DE, where health officials recently confirmed their first run-in with a kissing bug, making its known distribution across 28 states, according to researchers at Texas A&M University.

The triatomine bug, also known as the notorious kissing bug, has been an obscure threat in the United States, with the highest density in Latin America and some Western states. They sometimes carry a parasite known as Trypanosoma cruzi, or T. cruzi, which can cause Chagas disease.

The CDC has confirmed that an insect that bit a child's face in Kent County last July was a "kissing bug".

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the parents were concerned about possible disease transmission from the insect.

The family told officials that they lived near a heavily wooded area and had not traveled recently outside the region. A window air conditioning unit was located in the bedroom where the bite occurred.

The agency warned in September 2018 that the bug, which can pass along a fatal disease called Chagas, was making its way north and had been reported in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

The critters are typically found in the southern part of the United States, Central America and South America.

The most common symptom of the bug bite is swelling, according to the CDC.

Plus, the condition affects people differently: Even if you do get it, you might not experience any symptoms.

People who contract an acute case of the infection will develop symptoms of the disease nearly immediately. After that, the patient might feel fine for years. Although the DE girl tested negative for Chagas, the CDC is nonetheless warning people to be careful, since the disease can cause chronic health issues including stroke, irregular heart rate, and heart failure if left untreated. Experts haven't yet figured out why some people develop complications later in life and others don't.

Chagas disease can strike humans, dogs and other mammals.

Approximately 30 percent of people who contract Chagas disease are at risk of heart failure and cardiac arrest, which is a growing concern for the American Heart Association. But Stigler-Granados said some experts think that this estimate is low and that the correct number is closer to 1 million.

A doctor observes a kissing bug through a jar at the Hospital Escuela in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, May 17, 2005. Photographs were then sent to Texas A&M University's Kissing Bug Citizen Science Program-which documents the insects across the country-before the creature was finally confirmed to be Triatoma sanguisuga by the CDC via analysis of its body shape.

"Precautions to prevent triatomine bug infestation at homes include moving outdoor lights away from dwellings, such as homes, dog kennels, and chicken coops, and turning off lights that are not in use". Keep homes clear of trash, wood, rock piles, and bird or other animal nests; fix any cracks in walls or roofs; and seal the gaps around your window air conditioner units as well.

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