Northern California July 14, 2019
A Parasitic Bug Has Been Spotted Throughout Northern California And Its Bite Can Be Deadly
It’s that time of year where all sorts of strange insects start coming out. However, there’s one you’ll especially want to keep an eye out for. Known as the Kissing Bug, this insect seems harmless enough at first, but it’s known to spread a fatal disease. Although once contained to rural areas of Latin America, this parasitic bug has been spotted all over the country in recent years and it’s even been identified here in Northern California. Keep your eyes peeled and stay safe. Keep reading to learn how to spot this insect and what you can do to prevent getting bitten.
The triatomine bug, also known as the kissing bug, has been sighted in dozens of U.S. states during the past few months, including California. Although many who are bitten by kissing bugs will experience no adverse effects, some bites can become deadly under certain circumstances.
There are many different types of kissing bugs, so identifying them can be tough. However, they can generally be identified by their dark backs that are sometimes fringed with red or orange coloring. They are known to vary in length and width, ranging from the size of a penny to the size of a quarter.
The thing that makes a kissing bug bite so dangerous is the fact that they carry a parasite which causes Chagas disease. Many people who become infected will experience very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. However, you'll still want to get treated for the disease if you suspect you've been bitten.
According to the CDC, 20% to 30% of people will experience cardiac or gastrointestinal complications from Chagas disease. Children and those with weakened immune systems are especially susceptible to experiencing ill effects from Chagas disease.
It's also important to keep in mind that not
every kissing bug carries the parasite, and even if they do, it doesn't mean you'll get infected with it. This is because the kissing bug actually sucks on people's blood after they bite, but the parasite is only found in their fecal matter. If the bug defecates while they are biting and the fecal matter gets into the wound, a Chagas infection can then occur.
The kissing bug was most commonly found in South and Central America. However, it's been making its way all across the southern half of the United States, and it's been spotted as far north as Pennsylvania. Keeping kissing bugs from spreading has proven to be difficult since they have wings and can simply fly from place to place.
There are a few things you can do to make it harder for these parasitic bugs to make themselves at home. Kissing bugs are known to hide in cracks and corners and in places like woodpiles, underneath wooden decks, inside and around outdoor sheds, and pretty much any shaded wooden structure.
Kissing bugs also like to hang out in kennels and infect dogs with the parasite, which can in turn lead to a severe heart disease. It's recommended that you regularly clean out these areas where kissing bugs are known to linger.
Remove wood and brush piles from your yard, regularly sweep pet areas and patios, and clean out places like tool sheds and decks. This can make it harder for the kissing bug to inhabit these places so you can keep yourself and your family safe.
With kissing bugs on the move farther and farther north, it's more important than ever to learn how to identify them and get treatment if you suspect you've been bitten. Learn more about the kissing bug and Chagas disease by visiting the CDC website
Have you spotted this parasitic bug here in Northern California yet? If not, let’s hope you keep it that way! If you’re feeling a little creeped out, be sure to remind yourself of how amazing our state is by looking at our list of
20 Reasons Why Northern California Is Awesome.