Is There A New Bloodsucker To Worry About? Part 1 Of 2

They have a somewhat harmless and romanticized name but they are far from any type of bug that you would want to spend any alone time with!  The “kissing bug” is also known as the assassin bug, the Mexican bed bug, and the cone-nosed bug, is bloodthirsty pest to keep a watchful eye out for.  There are several species of kissing bugs within the United States. Some have a painless bite, while others deliver what is considered to be the most painful bite of any type of insect.

There are 16 species and 18 subspecies of Triatoma in the United States. Just like a bed bug, the kissing bug survives solely on the blood of mammals.  These bugs will attack wild and domestic animals, as well as humans.  In North America, opossums, raccoons, rats, armadillos, cats, and dogs have fallen victim to kissing bug attacks.

Kissing bug bite wounds are often misdiagnosed as spider bites, bed bug bites, herpes zoster, flea bites, and erythema multiforme.  In extreme cases, death from anaphylaxis is possible from the bite of a kissing bug.

The main reason that the kissing bug bite is so dangerous is because it can spread Chagas’ disease.  The disease is spread when the kissing bug bites their victim and leaves their feces behind in or near the bite wound.  If a person scratches or rubs the feces into the bite wound, the disease can be contracted.  Some people will show signs of the disease immediately, some will not.  Symptoms include a rash, fever, vomiting, and a swelling near the eyes.  The disease often goes misdiagnosed by the medical community.  Additionally, some people will not show any symptoms of the disease for years.  Chagas disease will lurk in their blood and surface twenty to thirty years after the bite wound occurred.  When this happens it is difficult for doctors to determine the digestive and heart problems that the victim is exhibiting.

Please check back on Monday for the conclusion.