Public health officials have confirmed for the first time in the history of the state the existence of the so-called "Kissing Bug" in Delaware.
The Insect – Triatoma sanguisuga – is a blood-sucking creature that feeds on animals and humans and has a penchant for biting faces. While the bites themselves are not necessarily dangerous, the beetles can transmit a parasite that causes Chagas disease – a potentially serious condition.
According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, a Kent County, Delaware family In July 2018, he contacted local health authorities after an insect bit the child's face while watching television.
The family told the officials that they lived near a heavily wooded area and had not recently traveled outside the region.
Preliminary investigations by the Delaware Public Division identified the insect as a kissing beetle. Photos were then sent to the Kissing Bug Citizen Science Program of Texas A & M University, which documented the insects throughout the country before the creature was finally confirmed by analysis of the body shape Triatoma sanguisuga .
In testing the insect, a human blood meal was detected but the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi causing Chagas' disease was negative. Fortunately, the girl did not get sick after the bite.
This is the first confirmed identification of the kissing beetle in Delaware. Earlier, in July 201
While the University identified the creature as T. sanguisuga On the basis of photographic evidence, a local institution had initially come to the conclusion that the investigation involved a milkweed bug. The specimen was destroyed before Texas A & M received the photos, so no final identification was made.
The parasite that the kissing beetle carries sometimes causes Chagas' disease – which can lead to serious heart and gastrointestinal complications. According to the Mayo Clinic, the disease can cause a sudden, short-term (acute) illness or lead to a long-lasting (chronic) condition. The symptoms range from mild to severe, although many people experience nothing until the chronic stage.
Symptoms of the acute phase – which may last for weeks or months – may include: fever, swelling at the site of infection, fatigue, rash, body pain, swelling of the eyelids, headache, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, swollen glands and enlargement of the liver or spleen.
If the patient is left untreated, the disease may progress to a chronic stage – symptoms do not appear until 10 or 20 years after infection. In severe cases these symptoms may include: irregular heartbeat, heart failure, sudden cardiac arrest, difficulty in swallowing due to enlarged esophagus and abdominal pain, and constipation due to enlarged colon.
According to the CDC, about 300,000 people have Chagas disease in the US – most of them were infected with the parasite in rural areas of Mexico, Central America and South America.
While the errors were found in the US, there were only a handful of confirmed cases in which individuals contracted Chagas' disease after contact with the beetle across the country. It is also important to note that while Delaware has identified kissing bugs, there are currently no indications of the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi in the state.
"Also there T. cruzi is in circulation, not all triatome bugs are infected with the parasite," according to the CDC report. "Human Probability T. cruzi Infection by contact with a triatoma beetle in the United States is low even if the beetle is infected.