SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A bloodsucking insect that bites your face could be found in your backyard.
Kelly McGowan, who works for the Springfield Greene Botanical Center, says the "kissing" bug is about an inch long and feeds on humans and animals. She says this bug can also carry a parasite that can lead to a serious illness.
The American Heart Association says the disease may develop into heart disease, including heart failure, stroke or life-threatening ventricular arrhythmia.
"We have kiss bugs in the Ozarks, but no cases where they carry the parasite that causes Chagas disease," says McGowan.
McGowan says the bugs bite at night when they come into your house. She says it's best not to smash the bug, because if it contains the parasite, you can get it on your skin. She recommends placing the bug in a bag and placing it in the freezer. One of the best ways to prevent yourself from outside is to use insect repellent.
"As far as your home is concerned, it's best to seal holes in screens or cracks near doors or places where insects enter your home," McGowan says.
If you believe you have been bitten by this mistake, McGowan recommends contacting your doctor.
"This is a very rare disease and the likelihood of you contracting is very low and we are fortunate enough to live in the Ozarks, it's such a beautiful area that the fear of a rare one Illness does not stop you from spending time outdoors, "says McGowan.