KISSING BUG CHAGAS DISEASE HITS MS
As if Mississippi didn't have enough bug problems that warrant a regular Pest Control service, the "kissing bug" has once again made it to the States' watch list for transmitting the sometimes-fatal Chagas Disease. It often comes with flu-like symptoms that tend to last for several months, but can lead to much worse conditions if left untreated.
SPREADING OF CHAGAS:
How the bug spreads the parasitic disease is alarming. Here's what Texas A&M has to say about it:
"The insect vector, commonly known as the kissing bug, can transmit the parasite to hosts by biting [typically near the lips] and subsequently defecating near the site of the bite. Bugs can enter homes, hunting cabins, dog kennels, or other areas where they may find hosts on which to feed. Dogs can also become infected through the consumption of infected bugs. Additionally, the parasite can be transmitted congenitally, through blood transfusion, and through transplantation of infected organs."
Read more here: Texas A&M article
For Mississippians, the bug itself hasn't spread the disease... yet. Rather, it's been via blood transfusions from donors who have previously been infected with Chagas either congenitally (at birth), vector (by the bug) or blood transfusion.
RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS:
The CDC states that 20-30% of patients can develop fatal heart conditions if left untreated:
"Infants are at higher risk for developing severe manifestations, such as myocarditis or meningoencephalitis during the acute stage. If untreated, infection becomes chronic. Most patients with chronic infection remain asymptomatic; however, 20%–30% develop cardiac or gastrointestinal complications, which can be fatal"
Read more here: CDC article
It’s best to ask your doctor if you have symptoms listed in the articles above. It is also helpful to have a regular pest control service that can help reduce the populations of these “occasional invaders” to your home. Specific treatments can also be performed if you start seeing these insects around your home or office on a regular basis.