Don’t Let This Texas Insect’s Cute Name Fool You, It’s Deadly
If you find a Trypanosoma cruzi in your house in Texas, stay away from it. Even just being around it, can cause diseases. But you're probably thinking what the heck is a "Trypansoma cruzi"? Well you know it better by its common name...
Trypansoma cruzi are better known as "kissing bugs"
Yes these small creatures that only grow up to 1/2 inch or an 1 inch long. They're also called "assassin bugs" because of their relentless preying for smaller insects. Thank God because if they hunted HUMANS like this... they'd be even MORE terrifying. But nevertheless they can still cause severe damage to us because of one disease they carry.
Kissing bugs contain a deadly disease known as Chagas disease which is caused by a bite from one of these critters. At first this disease was only found in countries such as Mexico, Central America & Latin America. But now...they've found their way north to OUR neck of the woods.
What are the symptom of Chagas disease?
The CDC has listed 2 main phases of Chagas disease; the acute & the chronic phase. The acute phase usually consists of the mild symptoms: fever, fatigue, body aches, headache, rash, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting. These symptoms are usually gone by about a few weeks or a few months.
The chronic phase however... these are the symptoms that can last years, decades or in some cases, the rest of someone's lives. These include cardiac complications (heart enlargement, heart failure, cardiac arrest) or gastrointestinal complications (an enlarged esophagus or colon). And yes these symptoms can lead to death if not treated...
Where do you find kissing bugs in Texas?
A team of scientists at Texas A&M University started a program in 2012 entirely dedicated to the science behind kissing bugs & the cases that have risen in Texas. Their studies have shown that 29 states have kissing bugs; Texas being one (obviously!).
While the number of cases is unknown, their research has found that AT LEAST 300,000 cases of Chagas disease was caused by 10 different species of kissing bugs in the United States alone. They tend to live around the southern/south eastern part of the state, affecting humans & dogs alike.
To protect your house from these "lovely" bugs, the scientists advise you to:
- Plug any gaps in your doors/windows; don't leave them open
- Remove any piles of branches/wood & trash away from your house to keep wild animals that might have kissing bugs away from you & your pets.
- Turn off outside lights at night.
- And if you have dogs, be warned that kissing bugs are attracted to the heat & areas with many dogs.
So again, don't be fooled by the name. Kissing bugs are anything but loving.
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