Tags: kissing bug | cdc | georgia | chagas | disease

Kissing Bugs CDC: Insect Spotted in Georgia, but No Cases of Chagas There

Image: Kissing Bugs CDC: Insect Spotted in Georgia, but No Cases of Chagas There
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By    |   Wednesday, 25 Nov 2015 08:36 AM

The "kissing bug," which carries the deadly parasite that causes Chagas disease, has been spotted in Georgia, the CDC announced this week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Georgia residents to be aware of the triatomine bugs, which can enter residences through cracks or holes and hide under beds and mattresses, Fox5 Atlanta reported.

"Triatomine bugs live in a wide range of environmental settings, generally within close proximity to a blood host," the CDC wrote on its website. "In areas of Latin America where human Chagas disease is an important public health problem, the bugs nest in cracks and holes of substandard housing."

According to the health agency, a person can become infected with Chagas after coming into contact with the feces of an infected kissing bug, a blood-sucking insect that bites humans and animals.

The CDC stated that, in the chronic phase of Chagas disease, which could stay silent for decades, people can develop cardiac complications — such as an enlarged heart and heart failure — or intestinal problems, such as an enlarged esophagus or colon. It can be deadly.

But health officials don't want anyone to freak out. Although kissing bugs have been spotted in the southern United States, like Georgia, the cases of Chagas disease are limited.

Dr. Susan Montgomery, of the CDC, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that there has never been an actual case of Chagas transmitted by the kissing bug reported in Georgia.

"Yes, the bugs can be found in Georgia, and, yes, the bugs in the U.S. have a proportionally higher rate of carrying the parasite that causes Chagas, said Montgomery, the epidemiology team lead at the CDC's parasitic diseases branch," the Journal-Constitution reported. "But the species of bug here is more often found in wooded areas than in people's homes, Montgomery said. It often feeds on wildlife."

The kissing bug and Chagas disease have been a growing problem in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas though, The Monitor newspaper in McAllen reported.

"Hidalgo and Cameron [counties] are at the highest risk here [on] the border," Teresa Patricia Feria, a biology assistant professor at the University of Texas-Pan American, told The Monitor earlier this month.

Feria organized an effort to capture the bugs and send them to Sahotra Sarkar, a professor of integrative biology and philosophy at The University of Texas at Austin for a study on Chagas disease, the newspaper noted.

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The "kissing bug," which carries the deadly parasite that causes Chagas disease, has been spotted in Georgia, the CDC announced this week.
kissing bug, cdc, georgia, chagas, disease
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2015-36-25
Wednesday, 25 Nov 2015 08:36 AM
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