Ever heard of the kissing bug? You probably don’t know anything about this insect, but I’m pretty sure you’ve seen one.
While the kissing bug sounds harmless, this parasite is a deadly one. Widely known with its scientific name triatomine bugs, they are primarily nocturnal and feed on the blood of birds, reptiles, and mammals, including humans. Triatomines are commonly found in the southern United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America.
The kissing bug gets its famous nickname because it likes to bite around the lips and eyes of people and animals when they are asleep.
What’s so dangerous about this bug is that it is notorious for spreading Chagas disease to humans and animals which can be fatal if left untreated.
But here’s the catch, to actually pass on the disease, the bug not only needs to bite you, but then defecate into the gash. They transfer the deadly parasitic disease through their poop. Dogs often get infected with Chagas when they eat the bug or if they eat an infected animal’s feces.
An early detection is a must because Chagas is known as a silent killer. If left untreated, victims might develop chronic conditions such as difficulty in breathing, heart and intestinal complications, and, in extreme cases, death.
For safety, be aware of the possible symptoms:
- Poor coordination, and confusion
- Seizures or jerky movements
- Swollen abdomen
- Loss of appetite
- Depression and lethargy
- Increased heart rate
However, these symptoms can be quite common to other health problems, but just in case, there are specific test to detect Chagas. Though it’s deadly, when it is found early enough, it can be successfully treated.