CONNECTICUT – The deadly kissing bug has been confirmed in dozens of US states. It was not found in Connecticut, but has been confirmed in states as close to Pennsylvania, and it has the potential to be in New Jersey, said the state's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Chagas disease, as it's officially called, earned the nickname because the triathlon beetles they carry typically bite people's faces.
The CDC said the kissing beetle would come from the north and south America to the north in September. If the Chagas disease is not treated, the infection is lifelong and can be life-threatening, the agency said. Most infected individuals will experience no symptoms, including fever, fatigue, pain, headache, skin rash, and swelling at the site of transmission. However, in severe cases, Chagas' disease can lead to stroke or heart failure.
There are currently about 300,000 people and 8 million people worldwide living with the disease in the United States, and researchers expect climate change to cause more infections in the United States.
Kissing infections can also be transmitted from mother to woman. Babies from contaminated blood products and organ transplants, and in rare cases from laboratory accidents or contaminated food or drink. In many countries where the disease is common, donated blood is screened for the disease.
The Delaware girl kiss bug found in the southern half of the United States in 201
The girl did not get sick after reporting in the kiss.
The map below shows where the Kissing Bug was found or has the potential to be detected.
What to Do to Protect Yourself
The CDC says people could protect themselves against the kissing bug in various ways:
- seal tears around the house;
- Do not install garden lights near the house as these may cause errors.
- Allow pets to sleep in closed rooms at night;
- Clear brush or cairn near the house;
- Use screens on windows.
- Keep the home and outdoor area clean for pets.
People who find an insect they believe are a kissing bug should put it in a container and take it to the local health department or university for identification. Subsequently, the area in which it was found must be thoroughly cleaned with a solution of one part of bleach to nine parts of water.
The kissing bug can also make pets sick. Researchers from the Department of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A & M University said the parasite can infect dogs with severe heart disease, although many show no symptoms. The researchers said complications are typically related to the age of the dog, the level of activity of the dog and the genetic burden of the parasite.
There is currently no vaccine to protect people and dogs from Chagas disease.