Kiss of Death
In Texas, kissing bugs continue to sneak across the state, and unfortunately the threat they carry may be worse than expected.
The threat kissing bugs are known to carry is Trypanosoma cruzi, a parasite that can lead to Chagas disease. Chagas disease is a potentially deadly disease that can cause heart failure. Reports say that 64% of the kissing bugs in the state have Trypanosoma cruzi.
With 64% of kissing bugs carrying the parasite, there is a change that “a lot of Texans could be afflicted with Chagas disease possibly without being properly diagnosed,” Nancy Moran said, a professor of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas-Austin.
Symptoms to look out for are flu-like- fever, body aches, nausea and vomiting- however the infection can stay silent for decades. It can be years before heart and intestinal complications surface after a person is infected.
The threat that kissing bugs pose to Texas is fairly new, however it still is a threat that continues to spread.
Dogs can also be infected; however spotting the infection in then can be a little more difficult. Symptoms to look out for are loss of energy and a decrease in appetite. Unfortunately there is currently no treatment to save dogs.
Kissing bugs are most active at night and typically live beneath porches, between rocks and under cement and brush piles. In order to best protect yourself and your pets, stay inside at night and spray the areas where the kissing bugs like to live with insecticide.
If you think you or your pet has been bit by a kissing bug, seek medical attention as soon as possible.