The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has reported a deadly bug to be infecting the southern parts of the United States. It is not this bug that’s actually the problem. It is the dangerous parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi that it can carry that’s harmful. This virus is has been associated with causing Chagas disease. So if you are in the southern U.S., Mexico, South America or Central America, you should be careful. The parasite has infected a whooping 8 million people all across the world.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention claims that the bug is not capable of giving the Chagas disease as easily to humans. The transmission of the disease is caused via the feces of the bug. The only way someone can get this disease is if the feces of the bug rub on a bite wound or if the feces enter their body through their eyes or mouth. The bug species mostly seen across the southern parts of the U.S. have been found to be similar to the Chagas disease-causing species.
This bug is a very small insect and it is similar to mosquito in that it feeds on your blood. However, it will mostly bit on your face. When it bites, it causes itching. When you scratch the area, the pathogen is introduced. Usually, those who get bitten don’t fall sick. This means most people will not seek medical care. However, it works in a different way. It will cause heart disease in around 3 out of 10 people who get infected.
The bug has been called officially called the triatomine bug. The general name that has been doing the rounds is the “kissing bug.”The 11-ALIVE News has reported that this bug has found throughout the southern United States.
It has been reported that the native species of this bug can carry the pathogen of the Chagas disease. However, this species doesn’t defecate during feeding. This reduces the chances of the pathogen getting transmitted to you. The CDC also encourages people to bring the bugs to the nearest CDC office.
The NBC-12 News reports the following from the CDC on the “kissing bugs.”
According to the CDC, the bugs are capable of living in holes and cracks both indoors and outdoors. They can live in the following places:
- Under the porches
- Under cement
- Between rock structures
- In wood, rock, under bark, and in brush piles
- In your outdoor dog house/kennel
- In animal burrows and rodent nests
- In chicken house or coops
The CDC makes the following recommendations to help keep the “kissing bug” out of your home:
- Seal all the gaps and cracks around the walls, windows, doors and roofs.
- Remove all the piles of wood, rock and brush close to your house.
- Repair all holes or tears in the windows and doors. Use screens.
- Make sure that the yard lights are away from your house.
- Have your pets sleep indoors. This is especially more important at nighttime.
- Make sure all the pet resting places are clean. Also keep your house clean.
If you come across the bug, avoid touching or squashing it. The CDC recommends putting a container over it and sliding it inside. You can fill the container with rubbing alcohol. If you don’t have it, you can freeze this harmful bug within the container. You can then take it to the local extension service, university lab, or health department for identification of the species.