Chagas disease, (see 2/22/13 post).
While cases have been extremely rare in the United States,
the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified it for “public health
action.” In a recent study the CDC’s EmergingInfectious Diseases journal found that nearly 40 percent of
kissing bugs collected in California and Arizona had recently fed
on human blood. Researchers said the findings were unexpected
because the 11 species of kissing bugs found in the United States
were not known to feed on people.
These bugs feed
on blood at night, generally from small mammals and birds but as
noted above, sometimes humans as well. The nymphs require a
blood meal to support their growth and maturation. The insect’s feces can contain the protozoa Trypanosoma
cruzi which causes Chagas disease. Contact with infected
feces, through an open wound, or through the eyes or mouth, can
result in disease transmission.
Most people who are bitten by a
kissing bug do not recall the bite and even fewer show
any type of reaction. Some, with particular skin
sensitivities or allergic reactions to the bug’s saliva, will
exhibit signs of itching and site swelling.
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A Central Massachusetts Extermination and Pest Control
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