Louisiana July 23, 2019
A Parasitic Bug Has Been Spotted Throughout Louisiana And Its Bite Can Be Deadly
Louisiana is no stranger to creepy crawlies. Spiders, snakes, and cockroaches are all white noise as far as Louisianians are concerned; however, there’s a dangerous bug that’s invading the southern part of the United States, and it has been spotted in Louisiana. Here’s everything you need to know about the Kissing Bug and what you can do to prevent yourself from coming into contact with this invasive little bug.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has issued a warning against an invasive little critter that can spread a potentially deadly disease.
Triatomine sanguisuga, also known as the "Kissing Bug," are typically seen in Central and South America, but have been spotted across the United States. They thrive in warmer climates, but have recently been making moves to the northern parts of the country as well.
The Kissing Bug is a nocturnal insect that feeds at night, often biting the victim’s face (while sleeping), hence its nickname.
The initial bite is often painless, but the insect can spread potentially deadly Chagas disease through a parasite found in its feces.
Once a Kissing Bug carrrying the parasite has bitten its host, the infection spreads when the host unknowingly itches the bite, spreading the bug's feces into the wound.
There are two phases of Chagas disease. The more common, acute phase may include symptoms like fever, aches and pains, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, or a noticeable rash around the infection site. These symptoms often can improve without treatment. The less common chronic phase is rare, but can lead to cardiac arrest if not treated.
If you think you’ve been infected, you should seek medical treatment right away.
In Louisiana, Kissing Bugs have been spotted in several parishes, including Jefferson Parish, St. Charles Parish, and Terrebonne Parish.
Since 2006, there have been 13 Chagas disease infections in Louisiana, though only eight were confirmed to have been acquired in Louisiana. In addition to the Kissing Bug, Chagas disease can be spread via congenital transmission, blood transfusions, organ transplants, and consuming undercooked food.
Since these nocturnal bugs feed at night, the best thing you can do is to try to keep them out of your home.
The likelihood of being infected is low, but better to be safe than sorry. Check your windows, doors, and other openings to your home to ensure you have tight seals to prevent their entry.
Visit the CDC website for more information on the kissing bug and Chagas disease.