A warning has just been issued by the Centers for Disease, Control and Prevention about the latest health scare – a bug called triatomine, or commonly referred to as the “kissing” bug. According to CDC, it can even kill a human.
This bug may seem harmless, but it actually transmits a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi, which becomes deadly once it enters a human body. This parasite causes Chagas disease, which has affected over 8 million people worldwide.
This is what the “kissing” bug looks like.
Prevalent in Latin America, Chagas disease can cause heart problems and lead to death. The symptoms start two months upon contracting the infection and include fever, headaches, enlarged lymph glands, muscle pain, and difficulty breathing. As these symptoms resemble flu, they are quite difficult to identify.
When symptoms start to develop, the infected person can get skin lesions or a purplish swelling on the eyelids of one eye.
There are two phases of development in Chagas disease. The first phase has fewer symptoms than the second, which usually misguides people into believing they’ve got the flu.
10% of infected people report digestive problems, whereas 30% experience cardiac issues once the second phase develops.
There’s no available immunization for this disease; however Chagas disease is treatable. If the disease is detected early, the treatment is almost 100% effective.
In order to increase your protective measures, the WHO advises using insecticide to spray your house and maintaining proper personal hygiene, especially when near food.
If the host rubs the bite, there’s a higher risk of the disease being spread as the bug normally defecates into the bite, and the fecal matter infects the bite with the deadly parasite.
The northern regions are the only area of the United States which aren’t at risk, including New England and New York State.