Deadly ‘kissing bug’ spreads to more than half of US, including Indiana

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(November 24, 2015) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a deadly insect known as the "kissing bug" has made its way into every southern state, impacting more than half of the United States.

The bug, also known as the triatomine bug, has been reported in several states. The bugs typically feed on the blood of mammals, including humans and pets, biting them in the lip area.

If the bug is infected with parasites and defecates in the wound, it can lead to Chagas disease, which can be fatal if not treated.

1280x720_40729P00-IHSWZ

Symptoms include fever, fatigue, rash, diarrhea, and vomiting. It can also cause heart failure and intestinal damage.

Once inside your home, the bugs tend to hide in cracks or under beds and mattresses, including pet bedding, then come out at night, just like bed bugs.

The kissing bugs have caused a public health problem in areas of Latin America, where the bugs nest in cracks of substandard housing. Officials estimate that 8 million people in Mexico, Central America, and South America have contracted the illness, and here in the U.S. up to 10 percent of dogs in shelters in southern Texas have tested positive for Chagas.

cdc

Courtesy: CDC

To keep your home safe, the CDC recommends:

    • sealing all cracks and gaps around windows, walls, roofs, and doors and screens

 

    • checking in and around your pet's bedding

 

    • removing wood, brush, and rock piles near your home

 

    • turning off outdoor lights at night, which attract bugs.

Kissing bugs are hard to kill - typical bug sprays do not work. Instead, trap the bug in a jar and drown it in rubbing alcohol or freeze it in water to kiss the kissing bug goodbye.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s