Why You Should Be Wary Of Kissing Bugs

Posted: Nov 25 2015, 10:42am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

Why You Should Be Wary of Kissing Bugs
Photo Credit: Center for Disease Control

Kissing bugs have one of the cutest names you could hear, but if you actually do get a kiss - or rather, a bite - from them, you could be facing death. So far, these dangerous bugs have been spotted in Texas, Georgia, and most recently, Indiana.

"They look a little darker than a cockroach, heart shell," said Dr. Laila Woc-Colburn, Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. Woc-Colburn has been studying these little villains for quite a few years - and they are terrifying. "It stays dormant for about you know, 15, 20, 30 years and then you start having congestive heart failure or maybe kind of weird rhythms in your heart," she said.

All it requires is a single bite from the kissing bug, which is better known as the Triatomine bugs.

These bugs hide in tree bark and then come out to feed at night. While it can bite you anywhere, it targets your head, neck, and face while you are sleeping. That's where the cute little nickname comes from.

According to WTHR from Indiana, the bug carries a parasite which causes the infectious disease, Chagas.

"When you have a bite, you usually scratch and when you scratch you get the stuff that the bug defecated into your arm and those have the little parasite that looks like an "S". The Tripminisoma gets into you," said Dr. Woc-Colburn.

Most people will get some flu-like symptoms after being bit and then they won't feel anything strange for a few years to come. Around 70% of people will survive with treatment, but for the rest, it will be fatal.

"In Latin America, it can affect more than 30 million people. Usually low income where they don't have access to care," said Dr. Woc-Colburn.

There are treatments for Chagas, but so far no vaccine available.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/46" rel="author">Noel Diem</a>
Noel passion is to write about geek culture.




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