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CDC – Chagas Disease – General Information

What is a triatomine bug and what does it look like?

Various triatomine bugs in all life stages, from eggs to nymphs to fully grown adults. A variety of bug species, that share similar traits, are pictured.

Triatomine bugs are a type of reduviid bug that can carry Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease.

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Where are triatomine bugs typically found?

Triatomine bugs (also called “kissing bugs”, cone-nosed bugs, and blood suckers) can live indoors, in cracks and holes of substandard housing, or in a variety of outdoor settings including the following:

  • Beneath porches
  • Between rocky structures
  • Under cement
  • In rock, wood, brush piles, or beneath bark
  • In rodent nests or animal burrows
  • In outdoor dog houses or kennels
  • In chicken coops or houses

They are typically found in the southern United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America (as far south as southern Argentina). The map below details triatomine occurrence by U.S. state.

Eleven different species of triatomine bugs have been found in the southern United States:

Triatomines are mostly active at night and feed on the blood of mammals (including humans), birds, and reptiles. Triatomine bugs live in a wide range of environmental settings, generally within close proximity to an animal the bug can feed on, called a blood host. 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.

Because most indoor structures in the United States are built with plastered walls and sealed entryways to prevent insect invasion, triatomine bugs rarely infest indoor areas of houses. Discovery of the earlier stages of the bug (wingless, smaller nymphs) inside can be a sign of a triatomine infestation. When the bugs are found inside, they are likely to be in one of the following settings:

  • Near the places your pets sleep
  • In areas of rodent infestation
  • In and around beds and bedrooms, especially under or near mattresses or night stands
How can I keep triatomine bugs away from my home?

Synthetic pyrethroid bug sprays have been used successfully in Latin America to get rid of house infestations. Although similar chemicals are available in the United States, none have been specifically approved for use against triatomine bugs. A licensed pest control operator should be consulted before using any insecticides to kill triatomine bugs. Roach hotels or other “bait” formulations do not work against triatomine bugs. Long lasting insecticide treated bednets and curtains have been shown to kill these bugs.

Other precautions to prevent house infestation include the following:

  • Sealing cracks and gaps around windows, walls, roofs, and doors
  • Removing wood, brush, and rock piles near your house
  • Using screens on doors and windows and repairing any holes or tears
  • If possible, making sure yard lights are not close to your house (lights can attract the bugs)
  • Sealing holes and cracks leading to the attic, crawl spaces below the house, and to the outside
  • Having pets sleep indoors, especially at night
  • Keeping your house and any outdoor pet resting areas clean, in addition to periodically checking both areas for the presence of bugs
I think I found a triatomine bug.

What should I do?

If you find a bug you suspect is a triatomine, do not touch or squash it. Place a container on top of the bug, slide the bug inside, and fill it with rubbing alcohol or, if not available, freeze the bug in the container. Then, you may take it to your local extension service, health department, or a university laboratory for identification.

Surfaces that have come into contact with the bug should be cleaned with a solution made of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water (or 7 parts ethanol to 3 parts water).

Triatoma sanguisuga Credit: CDC, courtesy of James Gathany


Triatoma gerstaeckeri next to a penny for scale. Credit: S. Kjos


Triatoma protracta Credit: CDC, courtesy of James Gathany

How can I tell if the bug I’ve found is a triatomine and not another kind of bug?

There are many beetles and non-triatomine reduviid bugs that resemble the triatomine bug. Two examples of non-triatomine reduviid bugs that do not feed on human blood, but prey upon other insects are the wheel bug and the western corsair. Some plant-feeding bugs, such as the leaf-footed bug  also resemble the triatomine. If you are unsure if the bug you’ve found is a triatomine, you may wish to consult with an expert, such as an entomologist, for clarification.

More on: Bugs Commonly Confused with Triatomine Bugs

Can I get

Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease, from a triatomine bug?

Yes. However, the transmission of the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite from a bug to a human is not easy. The parasite that causes the disease is in the bug feces. The bug generally poops on or near a person while it is feeding on her blood, usually when the person is sleeping. Transmission of the parasite happens when poop is accidentally rubbed into the bite wound or into a mucous membrane (for example, the eye or mouth), and the parasite enters the body.

It is important to note that not all triatomine bugs are infected with the parasite that causes Chagas disease. The likelihood of getting T cruzi infection from a triatomine bug in the United States is low, even if the bug is infected.

Could I be allergic to the bite of a triatomine bug?

Yes. The saliva of certain types of triatomines can cause an allergic reaction in some people. An allergic reaction can have severe redness, itching, swelling, welts, hives, or, rarely, anaphylactic shock (severe allergic reaction). People with a history of anaphylactic shock should consult a physician to obtain medication to use in case of a bite. It is important to note that not all triatomines are infected with the parasite even though their saliva may cause an allergic reaction.

An allergic reaction after a triatomine bite does not mean that you have been infected with the parasite T cruzi, the cause of Chagas disease. The swelling that may develop at the site of parasite inoculation (where the parasite entered the body through the skin or mucous membranes) is called a chagoma. When the parasite enters the body through the eye, the swelling around the eye is called Romaña’s sign. Chagomas, including Romaña’s sign, usually last longer than an allergic reaction and are less likely to be severely itchy.

What do I do if I think I may have Chagas disease?

If you suspect you have Chagas disease, consult your health-care provider. Or, to find a physician familiar with diagnosis and treatment of Chagas disease and other parasitic infections, ask your general practitioner or primary care physician for a referral. You may wish to consider visiting a physician who specializes in infectious diseases. To locate a clinician in your area, please visit the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s  Clinical Consultants Directory.

Kissing Bugs and Chagas Disease in the U.S.

Interactions between people and animals can result in disease transmission. Interactions can be touching wildlife, being near wildlife, or even just living in an area with lots of wildlife. A science called ‘eco-epidemiology’ looks at how ecology and environment affect human and animal health. Our team studies the eco-epidemiology of Chagas disease and kissing bugs in the United States. Our research helps us learn more about how to protect people and animals from Chagas disease.

THE VECTOR — Kissing bugs

Kissing bugs feed on blood and are active mostly at night (nocturnal). Adult kissing bugs are about 1/2 to 1 inch long. Kissing bugs hatch from small eggs and go through five juvenile (nymphal) stages before they become adults. Some kinds of kissing bugs can live up to two years.

All kissing bugs feed on blood throughout their lives. Kissing bugs can feed on people, dogs, and wild animals. They feed many times over their lives. When kissing bugs feed, they can take several minutes to take a full meal. Kissing bugs do NOT attach like ticks. Kissing bug bites do not usually hurt the person while they are feeding.

Kissing bugs live throughout North America, Central America, and South America. In the United States, kissing bugs have been found in 29 states. All shaded states in the map have at least one kissing bug found there. Striped states are those from which we have received submissions to our Community Science Program. In some states, kissing bugs have only been found a few times and are probably rare. Those states are Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Eleven different kinds of kissing bugs are in the United States. Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona are the states with the most different species and most findings of kissing bugs. Scientists have found that about 50% of kissing bugs are infected with the Chagas parasite.

Kissing bugs are a ‘vector’ because they can carry a parasite that can make people and animal sick. The parasite is Trypanosoma cruzi, and it causes Chagas disease. The number of infected kissing bugs varies from location to location.

THE PARASITE — Trypanosoma cruzi

A parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi causes Chagas disease. Chagas disease can occur in people, dogs, and other mammals. The Trypanosoma cruzi parasite is sometimes called T. cruzi.

Kissing bugs can get the T. cruzi parasite from feeding on the blood of an animal or person infected with the parasite. Then kissing bugs carry the T. cruzi parasite in their guts. The parasite is in the feces of the kissing bug. The parasite is NOT in the saliva or bite of the kissing bug. If kissing bug feces enters someone’s body, the parasite can infect the person and cause Chagas disease. Some kinds of kissing bugs poop while they are feeding; if a person scratches the kissing bug feces into the bite then the person may get sick. The parasite can also enter the body through the mouth or eye if someone touches their mouth or eye with a dirty hand. Dogs can become infected by eating kissing bugs.

Some kissing bugs in Central America and South America are more likely to be in houses and pass the T. cruzi parasite to people. Sometimes a mother with Chagas disease can pass the disease to her baby while she is pregnant. The parasite can be passed through blood and organ donations, and sometimes through food or drink contaminated with kissing bug feces.

PEOPLE — How we are affected

No one knows exactly how many people in the United States have Chagas disease. Scientists think that in the United States there are at least 300,000 cases of Chagas disease in people, and there may be more than 1 million cases. Most states are not required to keep track of the number of people with Chagas disease. Doctors are starting to count the number of people with Chagas disease in Texas, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah, and Los Angeles County.

People who live or lived in parts of Central America and South America are at higher risk of having Chagas disease. In the United States, Chagas disease risk is higher in southern states (where there are more kissing bugs) than in northern states.

Chagas disease has two stages; the first stage is called the ‘acute phase’ and the second stage is called the ‘chronic phase’. After the T. cruzi parasite enters the body, the acute phase can last for a few weeks or months. During the acute phase, some people experience symptoms like fever, tiredness, body aches, headache, rash, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or vomiting. Some people do not notice any symptoms during the acute phase. This can make it difficult to diagnose for Chagas disease.

After the T. cruzi parasite enters the body, about 1 out of 3 people develop the chronic phase of Chagas disease. The chronic phase can take many years to develop — some people have the chronic phase for decades after the parasite enters their body. In the chronic phase, people may experience heart problems or other symptoms.

If you are concerned about Chagas disease, talk with your doctor. There are Chagas disease tests and treatments available. Doctors can work with the CDC to learn more about treatment options for a person with Chagas disease. There are currently no vaccines to protect people from Chagas disease.


The T. cruzi parasite can infect many kinds of wild animals. Kissing bugs get infected from feeding on infected wild animals, dogs, and people. In the US, wild animals that can carry the T. cruzi parasite are woodrats, raccoons, coyotes, opossums, and other mammals. Birds and reptiles cannot be infected with Chagas disease, but kissing bugs can feed on their blood. Some animals may be able to carry the parasite without getting sick.


In dogs, infection with the Chagas parasite can cause heart disease. But many infected dogs may be asymptomatic (not appear sick). A dog’s daily stress and activity level along with age may affect how sick a dogs gets from Chagas disease. Different types of the Chagas parasite can also affect how sick a dog gets. Some common signs of illness in dogs are heart problems, stomach issues, and sometimes sudden death.

A dog can be tested for Chagas disease by testing a sample of blood to see if a dog has antibodies for the T. cruzi parasite. A test for dogs is available through the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory. Dogs with a positive test result may not show signs of illness. Talk with your veterinarian to learn more about the test and what a positive test means for your dog.

For dogs, there are not many Chagas disease treatments. Scientists and veterinarians are working on new treatments for Chagas disease in dogs. There is no vaccination that protects against Chagas disease.

Scientists at Texas A&M University have found Chagas disease in dogs in many counties in Texas. Other scientists have found Chagas disease in dogs in other southern states. As more owners learn about Chagas disease and test their dogs, we expect more counties to be added to the current map.

As awareness of Chagas disease grows and more cases are confirmed, we can expect many more counties to be added to the current map.

ENVIRONMENT — The importance of surroundings

The environment around a house affects Chagas disease risk to people and animals. For Chagas disease to be a risk, the environment has to have the kissing bug, the parasite, and infected animals or people.

There are steps you can take to lower the chance of Chagas disease affecting your family and animals. These steps are:

  • Secure your house to keep kissing bugs from sneaking in. Plug any gaps around doors and baseboards, and fix any holes in window screens. Don’t leave windows or doors open without screens.
  • Keep the area under and around your house neat. Remove wild animal nests, piles of branches and wood, and trash so that wild animals stay away from your house. Wild animals can carry the parasite and also be blood sources for kissing bugs.
  • Turn off outside lights at night if safe. Kissing bugs might fly towards lights and then crawl into a house. Keeping the lights off can keep the kissing bugs from coming near.
  • Work with an extension agent or a pest control company to discuss integrated pest management (IPM) strategies. Information about pesticide options can be found in the Texas A&M’s extension entomologist post HERE. If you use pesticides, be sure to read the label and apply only as the label says.

Dog kennels in Texas and other southern states may have problems with kissing bugs. Kissing bugs can be attracted to the heat and smells of areas with lots of dogs. Some dogs might eat kissing bugs in kennels. Keeping kissing bugs away can be difficult in kennels, especially where kennels are surrounded by natural areas with lots of wild animals. Following the tips listed above can help to keep kissing bugs away.

Should you be worried about blood-hungry ‘kissing bugs’?

(nathanphoto, Getty Images)

It sounds like something out of a horror film: A blood-hungry insect feeds on its prey’s faces while they sleep, leaving behind a parasite that can cause stroke and heart disease.

But the triatomine, or so-called “kissing bug,” is all too real and found regularly in Latin America, but also has been found in several areas of the United States, as far north as Illinois and Delaware. And while it often targets faces, the insect will settle for any patch of exposed skin.

With summer barbecue season on the horizon, how worried should people be?

It’s important to keep things in perspective, said Dr. Caryn Bern, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California School of Medicine. After an acute flu-like period that lasts from weeks to months, most people who test positive for Chagas disease show no symptoms.

“The estimate is that 20% to 30% of people with Chagas disease will eventually develop heart or gastrointestinal disease, although heart disease is much more common,” Bern said. “That’s over a lifetime, and it usually doesn’t show up until years after the infection occurred.”

It’s not the bug that causes Chagas disease, but rather a parasite that lives in its poop. When a person inadvertently rubs the bug’s feces into the bug wound, their eye or another mucous membrane, the parasite sometimes makes itself at home. Chagas disease also can be transmitted from mother to fetus; from contaminated blood transfusions; via an infected organ donor; or in rare cases, through food or drink.

While about 300,000 people in the United States have Chagas disease, most of them contracted it while living in Mexico, Central America and South America, where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates up to 6 million to 8 million have been infected. All told, the disease causes more than 10,000 deaths a year worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

But it’s important to keep in mind that since 1955, there have been fewer than 50 documented cases of people who have acquired the parasite from exposure to the triatomine in the U.S., said Dr. Susan Montgomery, who leads an epidemiology team in the Parasitic Diseases Branch of CDC’s Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria.

“The parasite has to get into a human’s body or an animal’s body by contaminating the wound,” Montgomery said. “It’s pretty complicated.”

But there is cause for concern, said Paula Stigler Granados, an assistant professor at Texas State University who leads the Texas Chagas Taskforce. Stigler Granados and her team work to raise awareness about Chagas in a state where more than 60% of triatomines test positive for the parasite that causes the disease.

“The more we look, the more we find,” Stigler Granados said, noting that since the American Red Cross started screening new blood donors for Chagas disease, they have identified many people infected with the disease. “Although the blood donation tests are extremely sensitive and sometimes have false positives, that’s an indicator that it could be a bigger problem we should be monitoring.”

There is a treatment for people who have Chagas disease. In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration approved benznidazole, a 60-day medication regimen for people ages 2 to 12.

Once Chagas disease becomes chronic, the medication may not cure it but could slow the progression in younger people. For older people who are affected, experts recommend doctors and patients weigh the individual benefits with the possible side effects of the medication, which can include rash, abdominal discomfort, and numbness or tingling in the hands and feet.

The best bet is to avoid infection altogether. The CDC advises people to use window screens, seal any gaps in the home, allow pets to sleep indoors and eliminate things near the house that attract insects, including lights and wood, brush and rock piles.

If you do come across a triatomine, don’t kill it, the CDC recommends. Instead, capture it with a container and either fill it with rubbing alcohol or freeze it. Then take it to your local health department or university laboratory for identification. Testing can help to determine if it is a triatomine, and if so, whether it carries the parasite.

In the meantime, experts agree on one thing: People should stay calm.

“The important thing to remember is that these bugs are more interested in staying out in the woods and feeding on animals than they are in feeding on you,” Montgomery said. “It’s important to prevent Chagas disease if you can, but it’s very hard to get this infection and it’s not happening often.”

If you have questions or comments about this story, please email [email protected]

The Kissing Bug and Chagas Disease: What You Need to Know

You may have heard about the kissing bug that is making its way across southern regions of the U.S. Major news outlets such as TIME, CNN, and Forbes recently featured stories about this trending topic. Kissing bugs can carry the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which can cause Chagas disease. It’s important to know that not all kissing bugs are infected with the parasite, and the likelihood of contracting Chagas disease is low.

The Kissing bug received its name because it typically bites the face of humans around the lips and eyes. They are similar to bed bugs; they are primarily nocturnal, and feed on the blood of mammals, including dogs and people. Feedings typically occur while hosts are asleep, and a meal can last 20-30 minutes. Hosts are unaware they are being bitten, because kissing bugs inject an anesthetizing agent during feeding.

About Chagas disease

Chagas disease is not new, but until recently, it was more commonly found in Mexico, Central America and South America. The disease is transmitted through the kissing bug’s feces. While feeding, kissing bugs can defecate on their host. During this time, their fecal materials can get into the bite wound or into a mucous membrane of the host, which allows the parasite to enter the body.

Chagas disease can go undetected in an infected host for up to two decades. Signs of Chagas in a human include: fever, fatigue, body aches, loss of appetite, vomiting, and swelling on the face or eyelid, but there may be no signs at all. Similarly, signs of an infected dog are fever and sluggishness. In addition, symptoms of heart failure may appear after an extended amount of time. You can learn more about how Chagas disease affects dogs and other animals here. For more information about the disease, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Where the kissing bug has been seen

The kissing bug has existed in Texas since the early 1800s, but recently increased its presence and spread throughout southern regions of the U.S. that are experiencing warmer temperatures, allowing it to thrive. Click here to see a map of kissing bug occurrences by state in the U.S.

Kissing bugs are typically found outside the home in close proximity to a blood host. They can be found in:

  • Dog houses or kennels
  • Hollow trees inhabited by rodents
  • Chicken coops or houses

If found inside the home, kissing bugs are often in:

  • Bedrooms; under or near mattresses or night stands
  • Near pet beds
  • Areas of rodent infestation

How to identify kissing bugs

Kissing bugs are generally light brown to black, but some have red, yellow, or tan markings on their abdomen. Kissing bugs have six legs, antennae, are about ½ ”-1” long, and often resemble a more oval and elongated cockroach.

Photo: Gabriel L. Hamer

Three species of kissing bugs that can be found in Texas.

Left to right: Triatoma sanguisuga, Triatoma gerstaeckeri, Triatoma protracta

There are other insects that look similar to kissing bugs. If you think you have found a kissing bug, don’t fret, you can contact your local pest professional for identification.

Prevention tips

You can help to prevent kissing bugs from entering your home by following these tips from our experts:

  • Seal cracks and crevices around windows, walls, doors, the roof, and attic
  • Remove wood piles, rock piles, and other structures away from your house
  • Bring laundered clothes inside as soon as possible
  • Install window screens and door sweeps
  • Remove animal nesting areas near your house, and have your pets sleep indoors, especially at night
  • Stay up-to-date with regularly scheduled pest control service

What to do if you find a kissing bug

If you find a kissing bug, the CDC recommends you do not touch or squash it. To help understand the problem and how many carry the disease, the CDC is asking for help. They suggest you place a container on top of the kissing bug for 24 hours, and then seal the bug inside the container. They are also asking people to transport any bugs they find to their local extension service, a university laboratory, or local health department so that the species can be identified and tested for Chagas disease can be conducted.

If you suspect you or your pet may have been bitten or has Chagas disease, you should contact your health care provider or veterinarian immediately.

We are here to help you identify any pest problems you may have, and are committed to providing Exceptional Service − Your Strongest Defense™. Visit www.PestDefense.com or call (877) 461-7378 to schedule an appointment!

Kissing Bugs | Cigna

Condition Basics

What are kissing bugs?

Kissing bugs are wingless insects that are about 0.75 in. (1.9 cm) long. Kissing bugs are dark brown or black with red or orange spots along the edge of their bodies. They are also called assassin bugs or cone-nosed bugs. Like mosquitoes, kissing bugs feed on blood from animals or people.

Kissing bugs have that name because their bites are often found around the mouth. They usually hide during the day and are active at night when they feed. They can go for weeks without feeding.

Kissing bugs can carry a parasite that causes Chagas disease, but this is not common in the United States. Itching from the bites can be so bad that some people will scratch enough to cause breaks in the skin that get infected easily. The bites can also cause a serious allergic reaction in some people.

Where kissing bugs are found

Kissing bugs are found in warm southern states of the U.S. and in Mexico, Central America, and South America.

Kissing bugs can hide in cracks and holes in beds, floors, walls, and furniture. They are most likely to be found:

  • Near places where a pet, such as a dog or cat, spends time.
  • In areas where mice or other rodents live.
  • Near beds, especially under mattresses or on furniture close to the bed.

Signs of kissing bugs

Kissing bugs can cause patches of bites, often around the mouth. The bites are usually painless, but they may swell and look like hives. Itching from the bites may last a week.

Look also for these other signs:

  • The bugs themselves, especially in your mattress or pillow
  • Tiny bloodstains on sheets and pillows

How can you treat kissing bug bites?

Home treatment can help stop the itching from kissing bug bites and prevent an infection. You can:

  • Wash the bites with soap to lower the chance of infection.
  • Use calamine lotion or an anti-itch cream to stop the itching. You can also hold an oatmeal-soaked washcloth on the itchy area for 15 minutes. You can buy an oatmeal powder, such as Aveeno Colloidal Oatmeal, in drugstores. Or you can make your own oatmeal solution. Wrap 1 cup (0.2 L) of oatmeal in a cotton cloth, and boil it for a few minutes until it is soft.
  • Use an ice pack to stop the swelling.
  • See your doctor if you think the bite may be infected.

Getting rid of kissing bugs

Kissing bugs can be hard to get rid of. Bugs can hide in cracks and crevices in the mattress, bed frame, and box spring. They can spread into cracks and crevices in the room and lay their eggs. For these reasons, it is best to call a professional insect control company for treatment choices. The usual treatment is the use of an insecticide that kills the bugs. It is best to prevent bugs from getting into your house:

  • Seal gaps around windows and doors. Fill in any holes or cracks in walls or screens that could let kissing bugs into your house.
  • Let your pets sleep inside, especially at night. Keep pets from sleeping in a bedroom. Keep clean areas where your pet sleeps.
  • Clean up any piles of wood or rocks that are up against your house.

kissing bug bite symptoms in humans

i read they can inject a parasite that can. Then, look for symptoms of fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, rash, headache, vomiting, and diarrhea. But little did the couple know the bot fly … The fecal matter then can get into the wound and infect the host with Trypanosoma cruzi- a parasite which can cause Chagas disease in both humans, dogs and numerous other mammals. If kissing bug feces enters someone’s body, the parasite can infect the person and cause Chagas disease. Reduviid bug bites can transmit the parasites that cause Chagas disease with symptoms that include fever, eyelid swelling, headache and splenomegaly. Flea bites vs. bed bug bites – knowing the difference can help you know what has infested your house. In this article, learn about the symptoms, risks, and treatments associated with kissing bug bites. These blood-feeding insects may target both humans and animals. The kissing bug bit a Delaware girl, causing recent panic. The bugs can … They neither have teeth nor a tongue. The bites can last for weeks and in some cases allergic reactions … The reduviid bug is also known as the “kissing bug” due to the way that it bites humans. When symptoms appear, however, they usually include: … The main risk associated with kissing bugs is the presence of a parasite in their feces, which can cause Chagas disease in … The symptoms of being infected with the virus are very general and vague. Reactions to bed bug bites can vary from no reaction at all to severe irritation and localised swelling at the bite site. The bug bites victims then poops nearby, which spreads Chagas disease. It’s important to know that not all kissing bugs are infected with the parasite, and the likelihood of contracting Chagas disease is low. The bite causes the victim to scratch, and that activity is likely to push the nearby feces and the parasites it contains into the small wound caused by the bite. Flower bugs bites can be painful and very itchy, and are often slow to heal. Kissing bugs, or triatomines, feed off of the blood of humans and other animals. The “kissing bug,” which can transmit the fatal Chagas disease, has been reported in Arizona, the Centers for Disease Control warns Phoenix. That’s why knowing whether you live in an area that is home to kissing bugs is important. Symptoms to note: Bed bug bites are not too painful, but can be very itchy and swollen. Triatomine bugs are often called kissing bugs because they sometimes bite humans around their mouths as they sleep. … These tend to get red a few hours after you are bitten and they can swell up like mosquito bites. It can be difficult to distinguish bedbug bites from other insect bites or rashes. The insect transmits the Chagas parasite when it bites someone’s face. After they bite and ingest blood, they defecate (poop) on the person. The kissing bug bit a Delaware girl, causing recent panic. During the first (or acute) phase, symptoms are usually mild. Adults have fully developed wings and measure anywhere from ½ inch to 1 inch, with bodies that are mostly black or brown. You’ll have identical symptoms, like itchiness, infection, and redness. The insect transmits the Chagas parasite when it bites … Triatomine bugs (also termed kissing bugs) Tsetse fly: Main symptoms: Chagomas, heart, gastrointestinal: Chancres, nighttime insomnia, seizures: Treatment: Benznidazole, nifurtimox; symptomatic treatments in chronic phase: Suramin, melarsoprol, pentamidine, eflornithine Assassin bugs like hanging out near their prey— mammals (including humans) with vertebrae—from which they can suck blood. The kissing bug, or Rhodnius prolixus, isn’t your friend. Wheel bugs are in the assassin bug family and look like dinosaurs with their cog-shaped thorax. Dear curious mother, This is an immature Eastern Blood Sucking Conenose Bug, Triatoma sanguisuga, and along with other members of its genus, it is also known as a Kissing Bug because they frequently bite sleepers on the face, especially near the lips. If Trypanosoma cruzi is transmitted to humans, it … Bugs That Transmit ‘Silent Killer’ Are Biting More in U.S. A Chagas disease epidemic is not likely in North America, but kissing bug bites do cause severe allergic reactions for some victims Chagas disease has two phases. The parasite is in the feces of the kissing bug. Dairman and her husband, Andrew Cahill, 30, already had plenty of bot fly (Dermatobia hominis) bites from the trip. Wheel bugs are in the assassin bug family and look like dinosaurs with their cog-shaped thorax. The symptoms change over the course of the infection. Since kissing bugs have a peculiar behavior of defecating while they consume a blood meal, a bite victim can unknowingly rub the bug’s feces into the bite wound and thus become infected. These bugs feed on the blood of animals and humans, and tend to bite human faces. If kissing bug feces enters someone’s body, the parasite can infect the person and cause Chagas disease. The signs and symptoms from bed bug bites are quite different from any other bite from an insect. If they encounter humans, they’ll bite them, too. Caterpillar hairs. Left untreated, Chag… Chagas disease isn’t new to Texas, and neither is the dime-size kissing bug that spreads the infection. Their bites do not initially hurt, so as not to wake their victims, but often become itchy, swollen and painful. Horsefly bites. The bug bites victims then poops nearby, which spreads Chagas disease. Yet, if you know how to tell the difference between flea bites and bed bug bites, you can get rid of them faster. The bites from the bugs are never a problem but the nuisance and irritation they cause is the bother. You can identify the common flower bug by its tiny oval body, reflective wings and orange-brown legs. The kissing bug disease has two phases, in which symptoms are mild in the first one. Source: ©2008 Louento.pix (CC BY-ND. These bugs transmit a … Some kinds of kissing bugs poop while they are feeding; if a person scratches the kissing bug feces into the bite then the person can get sick. They break down their food using digestive enzymes. Kissing bugs are nocturnal, meaning that they hide during the day and are most active at night. Chagas disease. Kissing bugs can carry the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which can cause Chagas disease. In the US, kissing bugs are typically black or very dark brown, with distinct red, orange, or yellow stripes around the edges of their bodies. subsequent research leads me to believe it was a “kissing bug”. In the early stage, symptoms are typically either not present or mild, and may include fever, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, or swelling at the site of the bite. Red skin area is a birthmark, not from feeding. Besides this the person experiences appetite loss, diarrhea and vomiting. My first impression after the bite was the feeling of being shot (I have been shot). Because these symptoms can mean any number of things, you will need a doctor for a full diagnosis. Also the kissing bug is nocturnal- the assassin bug is not. I had no idea that if left unchecked, the subsequent infection from the kissing bug could lead to deadly cardiac complications like stroke, heart disease, and … A kissing bug is a common pest found all over the US towards the southern states. The bugs might hit anywhere on the body, including the face, head, arms, and feet. When a kissing bug bites a person, dog, or other mammal, it tends to defecate (poop) more or less at the same time. Here’s what you should know including symptoms … This deadly bug likes to bite humans around their lips and even cause death! Unlike other insect bites or stings that form a single lump on the skin with a noticeable puncture site, mite bites induce skin rashes on the legs, arms, and trunk. The main risk of disease comes from a parasite in the kissing bug’s intestines and feces — Trypanosoma cruzi. Symptoms of Chagas Disease in Dogs. To treat a … The parasite is in the feces of the kissing bug. This bug is also known as the “kissing bug.” Are kissing bug bites painful? The truth is that dust mites do not bite but rather cause an allergic reaction when they come into contact with your skin. This activity will review the epidemiology of Chagas disease and how kissing bugs spread the disease. Chagas disease is common in South America, Central America and Mexico, the primary home of the triatomine bug. This parasite is found in the feces of the triatomine (reduviid) bug. Flower bugs are common insects that feed on aphids and mites. After a person has been bitten by a bed bug, then the bites do not appear right away. Kissing bugs are nocturnal, meaning that they hide during the day and are most active at night. These bugs prefer biting on the face, so bites around the mouth and eyes are very common. Kissing bug: The insect tends to bite humans or animals on the face and sucks their blood (Image: GETTY Images) Kissing bug: Speak to a doctor if you’re worried about the symptoms … The kissing bug can infect all dogs of all breeds, though rarely. i read they can inject a parasite that can They’re about an inch in length and will bite humans, dogs, and cats without mercy during the night. Kissing bugs live in rats’ nests and wood piles or in the nooks of your furniture or cracks in your house. Kissing bugs swell greatly when engorged, usually taking 20 minutes or so to feed. Adult bed bugs can live for approximately 6-12 months. Kissing bugs are nocturnal, meaning that they hide during the day and are most active at night. Death becomes rare and only if the bitten human has allergy to tarantula’s bites. Kissing bugs earned their nickname because of how they tend to bite people’s faces, especially near the eyes and mouth. Most people with Chagas disease in the United States were infected in the endemic areas. Chagas disease is a severe complication of a kissing bug’s bite. It’s caused by being infected with a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi that lives in a kissing bug’s intestines and feces. Not all people bitten by kissing bugs get Chagas disease. Bites from kissing bugs are not usually serious and cause only mild pain and redness. Some plant-feeding bugs, such as the leaf-footed bug also resemble the triatomine. While they are biting, they leave behind droppings, which is where the problem lies, as kissing bug disease is carried through the defecation of the insects. Share on Pinterest A bite from a kissing bug may cause Chagas disease. Kissing bugs are so named because they like to bite around the mouth or eyes. You’ll often see 2-15 bite marks in one area and maybe redness and swelling. It might be hard to tell them apart from other bug bites, minor skin irritations, or infections. Two examples of non-triatomine reduviid bugs that do not feed on human blood, but prey upon other insects are the wheel bug and the western corsair. Kissing bugs can carry the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which can cause Chagas disease. It’s important to know that not all kissing bugs are infected with the parasite, and the likelihood of contracting Chagas disease is low. Kissing bug bites and the subsequent development of Chagas disease is under-recognized and frequently go untreated. Kissing Bug? They tend to bite around the mouth and eye region on the face. Image credit: Glenn Seplak, 2007. Kissing bugs usually bite when you’re sleeping. Throwing hairs leads to itching or even problems with breathing. In humans tarantula’s bites cause hurt and pain. i was recently bitten by a beetle while asleep. Parasites enter then make their way in through the bite, rub or scratch. Share on Pinterest A bite from a kissing bug may cause Chagas disease. Sometimes it can even take a few days for a person to notice the symptoms. If the person awakens with a purple swelling of the eyelid near the bite, it is called Romaña’s sign. In general, the sites of bedbug bites usually are: 1. Share on Pinterest A bite from a kissing bug may cause Chagas disease. About half of the time, the person awakens with a swollen area near the bite called a “chagoma.” In rare cases, kissing bug bites can result in more severe symptoms. Very little is known on how the kissing bug can impact humans here in Arizona. It is spread mostly by insects known as Triatominae, or “kissing bugs”. The bug always bites on the face while the victim is in deep sleep. And it sounds like even tho the kissing bug is more dangerous because can transmit that parasite- most people don’t even feel the bite. My first impression after the bite was the feeling of being shot (I have been shot). Kissing bugs, or triatomines, feed off of the blood of humans and other animals. The scientific name for “kissing bugs” is the triatomine bug. As mentioned earlier, kissing bugs’ urine and feces are … “Kissing bugs” — or triatomine bugs — are blood-sucking insects that can transmit the life-threatening Chagas disease to humans. Kissing bugs occasionally bite humans in their sleep. The main risk of sustaining a bite from the kissing bug is contracting Chagas disease. Chagas disease is the common name for an infection from the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite. Not all triatomines have the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite, but it is very common. The “kissing bug” is most typically found in South and Central America but has been sighted in the U.S. as far back as the mid-1800s. Red, itchy dust mite bites that are on the arms and also the shoulders are the first sign that can indicate that you have been bitten by the bed bug. i was recently bitten by a beetle while asleep. Kissing bugs, or triatomines, feed off of the blood of humans and other animals. Size-wise, kissing bugs are also bigger than most stink bugs. Kissing bugs are dangerous to dogs because they can spread a dangerous protozoan injection Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi) that can and cause a fatal disease called Chagas disease. Unfortunately, it can be tough to differentiate kissing bug bites from the bite of other types of bugs. But with the Kissing Bug, they do something unusual, and disgusting. Image credit: Glenn Seplak, 2007. Medical News Today The bug usually bites its victim while they are sleeping around their face or eyes. This is usually only mild itching, redness, and swelling, but occasionally, a kissing bug bite causes a severe allergic reaction. Kissing bugs feed at night and their bites usually go unnoticed until the person bitten wakes up from their sleep. Usually, mosquito bites are harmless, but in people with a weakened immune system they can cause symptoms like a fever or headache. Importantly, these bugs bite. Symptoms of acute Chagas Disease range from nausea and vomiting to headaches and body aches, according to the CDC*. Chagas disease can be challenging to diagnose and chronic in nature leading to significant morbidity and mortality. Kissing bugs get their nickname because the insect usually bites humans around their mouth. … Image credit: Glenn Seplak, 2007. A bite from a kissing bug may lead to nothing, or you may suffer from acute or chronic Chagas Disease, if the bug that bit you is carrying the parasite. Female bed bugs lay several eggs in small batches, which hatch in about 10 days. The caterpillars of the oak processionary moth are a … This activity will review the epidemiology of Chagas disease and how kissing bugs spread the disease. These insects can transmit the protozoan parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi. Kissing bugs are so named because they like to bite around the mouth or eyes. Kissing bugs look similar to stink bugs… The kissing bug is a blood-sucking insect that attacks humans for food. They tend to bite around the mouth and eye region on the face. Some kissing bugs carry a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease. Let’s find out more the bite pictures on human skin and face, allergic reaction, symptoms… The first case in the U.S. was reported in 1955, and kissing bugs have been spotted in Texas since the early 1800s. They might include: Fever, fatigue, or other flu-like symptoms; A rash The human suffers from high temperature, headache, and general weakness. Then the bite transforms into local swelling with rash around it. Learn more about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of Chagas Disease in Dogs. When they do, they can spreading an illness called Chagas disease. Also called American trypanosomiasis, Chagas disease can infect anyone. Bed bug bites typically form in clusters as well, which can differentiate them from flea bites and mosquito bites. Chagas disease. September 2, 2019. Chagas disease can be challenging to diagnose and chronic in nature leading to significant morbidity and mortality. Word on the street is that they like to bite repeatedly near your eyes and mouth (hence the kissing bug moniker), which will cause bite marks, redness and swelling to appear. Bed bugs have bit along the hand and forearm in relatively straight lines and left rashes. The parasite is NOT in the bite of the kissing bug. The germs that cause Chagas disease are in the bug’s feces. It is also known as the kissing bug because it tends to bite humans around the mouth or eyes, usually at night. the bite was extremely painful and the reaction (fever, swelling, & pain) continued for a week. Raised red welts must be very itchy! Chagas disease (also known as American trypanosomiasis) is a parasitic vector-borne disease.This disease is found mainly in Central and South America and in the southern United States. The particular kissing bug that bit the child in Delaware was tested and did not have the Chagas-causing parasite, and the girl who was bitten had no ill effects as a result of the bite. Kissing bugs, or triatomines, feed off of the blood of humans and other animals. “Kissing bug” is the common name for a species of bug called triatomines. subsequent research leads me to believe it was a “kissing bug”. There are many beetles and non-triatomine reduviid bugs that resemble the triatomine bug. At the place where the parasite enters the body, a sore is formed. A group of researchers at the University of Arizona are studying the kissing bugs found in our state. Once bitten, T. Cruzi parasites make their way to into the bloodstream or the organs of the host (the person/animal who has been bitten), causing damage and dysfunction that can sometimes be very serious. Research shows about 50-60% of kissing bugs in Texas might be infected, Gabriel Hamer said. The main risk associated with kissing bugs is the presence of a parasite in their feces, which can cause Chagas disease in … Usually, their bites appear in straight rows as compared to bites from other insects that are found on the scalp. Some kinds of kissing bugs poop while they are feeding; if a person scratches the kissing bug feces into the bite then the person can get sick. This has earned them the nickname “kissing bugs.” The assassin bug lifecycle can last anywhere from four to 24 months, depending upon the environment and the specific species. The bugs get their common name because they tend to leave bite marks on the face. Chagas is a … Bed bugs on hand feeding. Because of their size bed bugs can get into small cracks and crevices.

kissing bug bite symptoms in humans 2021

Dangerous ‘kissing bug’ in Texas could cause deadly disease for you or your pets, experts warn

The year of 2020 is definitely one for the books. From murder hornets to aggressive rats, there’s another insect that Texans specifically may need to be concerned about — the “kissing bug.”

According to a report from AgriLife Today, entomologists at Texas A&M have seen an increase in kissing bugs — insects that carry a parasite that could cause Chagas disease, which could be fatal to humans and animals.

Researchers said they’ve already collected over 300 kissing bug specimens in one location, where just last year, they only found six. The collection site is located near Mission, Texas, which is roughly a four-hour drive south of San Antonio.

How to recognize a ‘kissing bug’

Kissing bugs look fairly similar to cockroaches and are known to feed on mammals’ blood, according to a previous KSAT 12 report.


They’re found across the southern U.S., Mexico, Central America and South America, especially during the hottest months of summer, according to AgriLife experts. With the Texas heat in full swing this month, one of the hottest months of the year, this is when the bugs are most active.

Kissing bugs can grow to be longer than the width of a penny and both their heads and mouths are cone-shaped.

Kissing bug compared to U.S. penny. (Photo courtesy of Texas A&M University Agriculture and Life Sciences).

These insects tend to feed on blood at night, when animals and people are asleep, according to officials. Bites are usually painless, and many don’t even realize they’ve been bitten.

The bites can turn deadly if the bug is infected with a parasitic disease known as Trypanosoma cruzi and defecates into the open bite or any other open wound, according to a previous KSAT 12 report.

About 50%-60% of these insects in Texas are infected with the disease, according to researchers.

AgriLife officials said the bugs are attracted to lights and can feed on dogs, wild mammals, birds, humans and other insects, such as crickets.


According to Texas A&M AgriLife experts, here are the locations where you’ll most likely find the bugs:

  • Beneath porches

  • Between rocky structures

  • Under cement

  • In rock, wood, brush piles, or beneath bark

  • In rodent nests or animal burrows

  • In outdoor dog houses or kennels

  • In chicken coops

For more facts on kissing bugs, click here.

What to know about Chagas disease

The main risk associated with these insects is that they carry Chagas disease, which could be fatal for you or your pet.

According to AgriLife researchers, symptoms of the disease include the following:

  • Fever

  • Fatigue

  • Body aches

  • Headache

  • Rash

  • Loss of appetite

  • Diarrhea

  • Vomiting

Some people may not experience any symptoms at all, and about 25% of people they infect with Chagas develop serious chronic disease, researchers said.

Still, if you have been bitten by a kissing bug, it’s recommended to seek additional medical care for further testing.

To read the full report from AgriLife, click here.


‘Kissing bug’ on the rise: Everything you need to know about dangerous infection

Just how deadly is the kissing bug, Chagas Disease?

Insect found in Texas could cause heart failure, stroke with bite

Copyright 2020 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

90,000 Chagas disease (trypanosomiasis): symptoms and treatment

Chagas disease or American trypanosomiasis is an infection. It is caused by the simplest parasites, leaving feces, from which the parasites living in them move under the human skin in those places where it is damaged.

Sometimes they are taken through the conjunctiva or bug bite, mucous membrane or respiratory tract.

The body reacts with acute skin inflammations, which are called steps. The inflammatory process develops and spreads to other tissues of the body.

First of all, the heart system and gastrointestinal tract are at risk.

In case of a particularly severe course of the disease, a lethal outcome is possible.

It is possible to get infected through blood transplantation , with organ transplant , during pregnancy from mother to baby, through the mouth , inhalation or improperly sterilized medical instruments (although such transmission is extremely rare).

Notes for travelers

The countries of the origin are South and Latin America .

Here the disease has reached the widest scope. According to WHO estimates, in 2014, more than 11 million people were infected 90,013, and children suffer the disease more severely than adults.
WHO’s actions are aimed at creating and implementing programs to eradicate the disease and control its pathogens.
The first results of the programs in Brazil are already impressive.

There is a risk that the infection will migrate to the United States and other countries, especially with a southern climate, and begin to actively spread due to the anticipated warming.

Scientists have already noted the migration of insects to the warmer regions of Europe.

Dr. Chagas’ Contribution to Medicine

The disease, today known in the world as Chagas disease, was named after the discoverer.

Brazilian Carlos Chagas described in detail the parasite and all the consequences of contact with it at the beginning of the 20th century.

The parasite was named after the employer of the scientist Osvaldo Cruz – cruzi.

Symptoms, after which it’s time to think about analyzes

The disease passes three periods : acute, asymptomatic, moderate.

The duration of each is not more than one week, but the intervals can last up to several years.

During the intermediate stages, some of the symptoms may appear.

The disease turns into a chronic form, and in this case it will manifest itself after a twenty-year period of calm.

Symptoms of the disease are not always unambiguous – they can be either pronounced or completely absent.

With the development of the first – acute – phase, the following most often occur:

  • Fever;
  • Increased fatigue;
  • Toxicosis;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Swelling of the ocular tissues or Romagna symptom;
  • Rash;
  • Swelling at the site of penetration of parasites under the skin;
  • Enlargement of lymph nodes.

Most often, symptoms disappear on their own after a short time – their manifestation can last no more than eight weeks.

If the patient’s immunity is weakened even before infection, then the disease goes into a chronic phase, which is characterized by its symptoms.

In the course of the chronic course of the disease, the symptoms constantly change .

Since the cardiac system and the gastrointestinal tract are at greatest risk, the symptoms are mostly associated with them:

  • Increased heart rate;
  • Fainting;
  • Changes in heart rate;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Regular constipation;
  • Emphysema;
  • Pain in the abdomen;
  • Difficulty swallowing;
  • Dilation of the colon.

The development of chronic inflammation is associated with the body’s response to the presence of parasites.

There are no symptoms between the acute and chronic periods, and this stage is called the intermediate or calm phase.

It can drag on for 20 years , during which a person will feel absolutely healthy.

Then the gradual and sluggish development of all symptoms will give a sharp explosion and will manifest itself immediately in full.

Recovery is still possible

Living in areas of South and Central America, where Chagos disease is quite common, makes it almost impossible to diagnose the acute phase.

Meanwhile, early treatment of the disease can result in a 90,013 positive result.

While the treatment in the late period is already directed, rather, to maintain the vital activity of a person than to his complete recovery, since the changes that have occurred during this time in his organs are already irreversible.

Diagnosis of the disease is possible by taking blood for analysis, carried out according to a specially developed method.

Microscopic examination of blood smears can detect parasites.

In this case, an additional immunological studies are carried out , since the parasites are visually similar to some causative agents of other diseases.

Treatment and its duration depend on the age of the patient and the phase of the disease.

Scientists still cannot agree on some drugs.

For example, beznidazole and nifurtimox are considered by some to be a panacea, while others argue that these drugs will not cope with the destruction of all parasites.

However, these drugs are still recommended for use by people with the acute phase of the disease.

Patients over 50 years old require an individual approach.

In some cases, only operable intervention can help. For example, heart transplant.

Unique developments of the USA

An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for Chagas disease was developed in the USA.

After it was approved by the FDA , in 2007, with its help, they began to check donated blood.90,031,790 specimens were found to be infected with Chagas disease.

Other tests that are commonly used are not so sensitive to the cruzi parasite.

Diagnostics of the disease is usually not carried out purposefully – very often the patient learns about the disease, passing tests to make a diagnosis for completely different cases.

In recent years, it has been customary to check blood from donors for the presence of cruz in the blood.

A positive result, depending on the country, ranges from one in 2 thousand – 29 thousand donors.

It is also possible to detect a disease in the chronic phase using a test.

African trypanosomiasis

In addition to Chagas disease, there is also its original analogue – African trypanosomiasis.

Carriers of this infection are tsetse flies and some other blood-sucking insects that live in Africa.

The patient develops a rash on the skin and edema, lethargy develops rapidly. This type of disease is epidemic in nature.


Although American trypanosomiasis is believed to be a disease of the poor, people from higher social classes are also not immune from it.

Recently, scientists often argue about whether the scientist Charles Darwin was infected, according to the description of the symptoms and behavior of which it is quite possible to conclude that the cruzi parasite is present in his blood.

From which it follows that traveling through the tropics, which Darwin also sinned before the disease, is fraught with not only a bronze tan.

90,000 which diseases can be contracted in Brazil

“Brazil is the most unfavorable country in Latin America for parasitic diseases,” says parasitologist Elena Gavrilova. – As for insects, the situation in cities is more or less stable, but when traveling outside Rio or São Paulo, you need to be extremely careful: there are a lot of mosquitoes and other insects that carry all of these diseases. Arriving in this country, you need to be prepared for an insect bite, bodily contact with sick people.And be able to consult a doctor in a timely manner.

Zika virus

This disease is also called Zika fever and is carried by the Aedes mosquitoes that live in the Brazilian tropics. The virus was most widespread in Brazil, where, as of January 2016, the number of cases had reached one and a half million people.

Sexually transmitted cases of Zika virus have been identified. To avoid the spread of the disease during the Olympics, the Brazilian authorities will distribute 450,000 condoms to participants, which will be coated with a special protective lubricant.

Symptoms : rash, head and joint pain, fever.

Danger level: if a pregnant woman becomes infected, then the child is threatened with microcephaly – a decrease in the size of the skull and brain.

Treatment: Zika virus is treatable. Vaccines for this disease have not yet been invented.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is widespread throughout the tropical zone.

Symptoms: The classic variant, especially at the first stage of the development of the disease, is similar to the flu: high fever, “breaks” joints, weakness.Also characterized by intoxication, fever, myalgia (severe muscle pain), swollen lymph nodes.

Danger level: dangerous fever becomes when you meet again with its causative agent – a mosquito of the genus Aedes (the same one). If treatment is not started immediately, death is possible.

Chagas disease

This disease is infected by the bite of large arthropods (mosquitoes) with a bright color. They attack at night, bite almost painlessly, mainly in open parts of the body, mainly in the face.A large number of sources of the disease are found in forests and villages.

Symptoms: at the site of the bite after a while something like a boil (purulent inflammation) forms.

Treatment: the effectiveness of treatment is almost 100% of cases.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever or Brazilian typhus

The disease received such a poetic name after the first outbreak of such a variant of typhus in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains (USA) at the beginning of the 20th century.This is an acute infectious disease caused by bacteria of the genus rickettsia. And the carriers are mites of the genus dermacentor.

Symptoms: after a bite in a person, together with an intolerable headache and fever, hallucinations, delirium and irritability appear.

Danger level: is considered one of the most serious infectious diseases. The infected person recovers very slowly. According to statistics, the mortality rate reaches 5-8%.

Treatment: If you do not start treatment immediately, the nervous system is affected – paralysis, deafness and blindness are possible.


Tropical syphilis (as this disease is also called) has nothing to do with the known venereal disease, except for the homogeneity of the bacteria that cause these diseases – Treponema. It is a tropical infection of the skin, bones and joints.

Symptoms: The disease begins with the appearance of a rounded area of ​​hard swelling of the skin with a diameter of 2 to 5 cm. An ulcer appears in the center. After 2 weeks, the same formations can form on the bones and joints.In addition, weakness, thickening of the skin of the palms and soles, deformation of the bones, especially the nasal ones, may begin.

Treatment: Yaws are treatable with antibiotics. To prevent the spread of the disease, it is important to start therapy in a timely manner.


1. Do not swim in open fresh water.

2. Drink only bottled water.

3. In the evening, walk in closed clothing, preferably cotton, white, because it is unattractive to insects.

4. Check if there is a net on the hotel windows. It is desirable that it be saturated with a repellent (insect repellent).

5. Use spray or other mosquito repellent.

6. Use a condom during sex.

My river blindness – Russian doctor in tropics! – LiveJournal

Nothing is more invigorating on a cold autumn evening in Ufa than finding worms in someone who has returned from Sierra Leone. Especially if the worms are in the eyes.

“Dear tropical_doc , I am writing on the advice of friends,” – this is how almost all letters begin. Then, in the description of the problem, a complete trash appears, which I love so much: “Doctor, I rode elephants, went hunting, killed a sick rhinoceros and ate it, spent the night in the open without a mosquito net, ate raw fish from the river, swam in lake, wade through a swamp, took a young prostitute, smeared himself with a rare type of medicinal mud, went to a shaman, smoked hashish, ate local fruits, snails, ants, shark meat, grasshopper, kangaroo, monkey brain, used cocaine, mushrooms, was bitten by a snake, scorpion , spider, midges, flies, mosquitoes, bee and fish stung, jellyfish hurt, had sex with a guide, had sex with someone from the group, but actually I’m allergic to strawberries, maybe that’s why I have a rash? ” At this moment I sigh and ask myself: “Valikova, did you ever live ???”

Our friend, in turn, works in a large advertising company.In Sierra Leone (everyone knew that the flag of Sierra Leone is the inverted flag of Bashkiria? Only without the kurai.) He photographs animals, birds, savannah and local residents. For at least 3 days a week for the last 7 years, he has been living on the banks of African rivers: where animals come to drink. And over the past year, his eyesight has dropped sharply.

While studying at the tropical institute, I really liked the so-called “forgotten” diseases. Secretly – I still like them very much. There are only seventeen of them: seven are caused by parasitic worms, three are unicellular and three more are caused by bacteria.There are also viral and fungal ones, but they turn me on less. Neglected diseases are a group of tropical diseases that predominantly affect the poorest and marginalized populations in the most underdeveloped regions of Asia, Africa and Latin America. These are the diseases with the highest incidence.

Most of these diseases are interesting in that their prevention and treatment is known but not available in the poorest countries, where they are most common.

Neglected diseases affect over a billion people and cause about half a million deaths annually.

helminth infestations







Protozoal infestation



African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)

Bacterial infection

Buruli’s ulcer


So, as soon as the legend about photographing near the rivers of Africa was told to me, a whole picture immediately surfaced … an eye in front of my eyes.River blindness. I remember this ticket on the exam. I remember all those creepy drawings … really?

They say, you hear the clatter of hooves, wait for a horse, not a zebra. Therefore, I ordered all the tests that could be passed in Moscow and wrote a referral to the Martsinovsky Institute to exclude Onchocerciasis.

Onchocerciasis is a terrible disease. That is, okay, Google, all tropical diseases are scary. But for me everything that is connected with the eyes is special: “Brrrrrr!”

River blindness, or onchocerciasis, is a parasitic disease caused by the worm Onchocerca volvulus.It is transmitted by the bites of black midges that breed near fast flowing rivers and streams.

In the human body, adult worms lay larvae (microfilariae), which migrate to the skin, eyes and other organs. When a female midge bites an infected person, it also absorbs microfilariae with blood, which continue to develop in her body and are then transmitted to another person in subsequent bites.

A monument in front of the WHO building – that they have liquified onchocerciasis in some countries there.

Symptoms are caused by microfilariae, which move in the human body in the subcutaneous tissues, causing a strong inflammatory reaction when they die. Lumps and severe itching appear under the skin: people scratch the skin right up to the blood, and over time it becomes deformed and discolored – the symptom is very nicely called “leopard skin.” Generally finishing me off – who comes up with these names at all ???

But the very hell happens to the eyes – punctate keratitis develops around the dying microfilariae, then iridocyclitis develops; Microfilariae are also able to penetrate the retina and through the vessels, causing inflammation of the retina in the area of ​​the optic nerve exit.All this leads to progressive impairment and, ultimately, loss of vision.

In general, onchocerciasis was confirmed in Martsinovsky. Not surprisingly, never once, in fact, I was both upset and happy. I was upset that onchocerciasis is rather poorly treated in the later stages. I was delighted that I, as I dreamed, work with Neglected diseases, even when I come to Russia.

As for the treatment, everything is simple (if it were not so toxic) – ivermectin and suramin. But, by the way, I’ll tell you a very funny fact now!

Onchocerci worms are social creatures! They are friends (are in a comfortable symbiosis) with a bacterium with the mysterious name Wolbachia.And then attention, Ta-dam, if you kill Wolbachia, and you can do it with ordinary Doxycycline, then onchocerci will also die. This is the kind of love.

And finally, not funny, but sad. Believe it or not, there are still diseases in the world, the cause of which is not known. Usually – because where they are – there are no resources for research, or there is not enough data to support the theory, or for some other unknown reason. In general, there is such a disease called Nodding.

Children are ill, usually between the ages of 5-15 years.Suddenly, they begin tonic-clonic seizures in the form of nods, they become inhibited and begin to lag behind, both in mental and physical development. So, although the etiology is unknown, the majority of children find Onchochurch. It is believed that it is not the worms themselves, but antibodies to them that cause the symptoms of the disease. But in general, it is not yet known for sure, I am looking forward to the result of the work, because there is a lot of research on nodding sickness now.

I’d like to go to Africa. But even more I want to go to Guatemala.But it is necessary – in Nicaragua.

Guys who have not yet helped us build a clinic – help. We can’t do without you.

I hug from cold Ufa, Vika.

Triatom bugs – kiss of death

If you are going to travel to the countries of South America, you are planning a trip to Argentina, get acquainted with local bugs, of course, only in absentia, a personal meeting with these parasites does not bode well.

In South America, the arthropod insect, the triatomaceous bug, is widespread.In their homeland, they are called affectionate killers, and even the bites carry the frighteningly beautiful name “killing kiss.” The Red Cross cited statistics according to which it turned out that more people died from the bites of triatom bugs than from all insects that are very dangerous to humans.

Who is the Triatom Bug?

The triatomaceous or kissing bug belongs to the family of carnivores, 130 species of these insects are known, many carry Chagas (Chagas) disease.

The bug’s body is black, elongated like a stick up to 20 millimeters long, the head is cone-shaped, there are wings. Compared to the domestic bug, its mouth apparatus is longer, elongated and limbs. Despite the large size of the insect, they drink half as much blood as an ordinary bug.

Parasites are widespread in the tropics and subtropics of America.

Killer bugs most often live near residential buildings, in outbuildings where domestic animals live, in bird nests, rodent burrows.Inhabited by reed huts, reed or adobe houses. You can bring them into the house with any objects, and they themselves fly freely from one place to another.

Insects go hunting at night, bite near the lips, eyes, while the parasite is saturated with blood, and this is about fifteen minutes, the person does not even wake up, does not feel pain or discomfort.

Why is the triatom bug dangerous?

The main danger of triatom bugs is that they are carriers of American trypanosmosis or Chagas disease.In most cases, after an insect bite, a blister forms, the damaged area itches. Subsequently, a rash may appear, a person suffers from shortness of breath, nausea, and rapid heartbeat.

In the excrement of kissing bugs there are trypanosomes, which are introduced into an open wound, the place of scratching and enter the body along with the blood. And he defecates directly on the wound or near it. In foci of bedbug infestation, the risk of getting Chagas disease is 50%.

A month will pass, and a person will not even know that parasites have entered his body.During this time, trypanosomes multiply, causing damage to internal organs, infecting bone tissue, heart, and digestive tract.

In the second month after infection, the symptoms become more pronounced:

  • Dizziness,
  • Pain in the region of the heart;
  • Swelling of the eyelids;
  • Muscle weakness;
  • Fatigue and tiredness;
  • Fever;
  • Vomiting and diarrhea.

During this period, trypanosomes accumulate near the heart muscle, the vessels become clogged, the lymph nodes are clogged.Death occurs in one and a half – two months. There is no vaccine against Chagas disease; medications can only prolong the patient’s life for a short time. The main problem with treating the disease is that its course is asymptomatic. And when infection is detected, damage to internal organs is irreversible.

How do you deal with triatomaceous bugs?

In countries where kissing bugs live, they are fought with the help of various insecticides, experts note the high effectiveness of such agents as gammexan, dieldrin, hexachloran and other drugs.

To prevent bedbugs from entering the house, the inhabitants of the tropics do not allow cracks and cracks in the walls, window and doorways. In addition to all measures, they sleep under the curtains so that insects cannot get to the body.

What you need to know when traveling to South America

  • Going for a walk outside the city, you need to wear the most buried clothes and shoes, a headdress is required.
  • Apply repellents to the skin, the substances will repel insects.
  • Strong fragrances attract parasites, so try not to use strong-smelling perfumes.
  • Do not take off your shoes, even if the clearing in the forest seems pristine, you cannot walk barefoot.
  • Avoid walking through bushes and tall grass.
  • Do not overturn boulders and stones, do not touch animal nests and burrows.
  • Try not to go outside at night.
  • Do not sleep with open windows, do not visit old and dilapidated buildings.

If the triatom bug has bitten:

  • Do not scratch the bite site, no matter how you like it;
  • Do not wash with water from local natural waters, do not apply grass and leaves;
  • Wash the wounds with clean water and soap;
  • Make a slurry of baking soda – three parts of baking soda, one part of water and apply to the affected area;
  • The edema will subside if ice is applied for 30 minutes;
  • If ​​you experience various severe reactions, allergies, you should immediately consult a doctor.

The triatom bug is one of the ten most dangerous insects for humans when traveling in tropical countries, do not forget about it and be careful.

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90,000 Chagas disease – symptoms of American trypanosomiasis

The disease of American trypanosomiasis, uncharacteristic for temperate latitudes, was known to few people in the Eastern Hemisphere until recently.Chagas disease is a common protozoan infection of Trypanosoma cruzi in Central and Latin America, carried by a specific subspecies of bedbugs.

Carrier of infection and causative agent of disease

Bedbugs of the Triatominae subfamily carry pathogens from a sick person or an animal to a healthy one, and can carry out the process of transmission of infection for 2 years of their life.

Bedbugs, known as triatoms or kissing bugs, transmit American trypanosomiasis 2 weeks after they become infected themselves, and can do this throughout their life, which lasts, under all favorable conditions, up to 2 years.

Kissing bugs live in the slums, where they have everything they need, such as cracks, old untidy furniture or cracks in the wooden parts of the building. They attack, like most bedbugs parasitizing on humans, in the middle of the night, or in the morning.

They got their figurative name from the habit of biting in the corner of the lips, or eyes, where the skin passes into the mucous membrane. In the countries of Central and Latin America, there are plenty of such slums so that a huge number of people could get the most dangerous disease throughout the year, and beyond a certain age, although children suffer the most.

Chagas disease, with the massive appearance of infected bedbugs, has the character of an epidemic disaster, because the patient becomes infectious after 10-12 days.

Ways of infection

A person gets American trypanosomiasis in several ways:

  • contact, having come into contact with the feces of the bug population;
  • by touching an infected limb to a wound, mucous membrane, or mouth;
  • by direct route, when feces enter the mouth, or on the mucous membrane of the eyes in a dream, or when eating food that has not undergone appropriate processing;
  • by birth, if the pregnant mother is infected with chagas (chagas) disease, during pregnancy, or through breast milk;
  • iatrogenic, in blood transfusion, surgery, or organ transplantation.

The latter route made American trypanosomiasis from a disease common in rural areas, a disease of urban slums, and not only slums. Blood banks in some countries are infected with a dangerous infection by 50% or more of available blood, and together with it they enter the body of a person who is still healthy. Chagas disease in some countries significantly exceeds the prevalence of HIV, or hepatitis B and C. Its figurative name is the disease of poverty.

Clinical picture of the disease

Trypanosomiasis, as a result of infection of the body with protozoa Trypanosoma cruzi, can give a different clinical picture, and proceed in stages of varying severity.At the initial stage, it can be asymptomatic, especially in adults with good immunity, in the chronic stage, it can give severe symptoms. A vaccine that can prevent infection has not yet been discovered.

The only way to prevent infection is the prevention of disease, cooking food and the destruction of bedbugs.

During its course, Chagas disease can have 4 different phases:

  • asymptomatic;
  • moderate;
  • acute;
  • chronic.

The first three can last from one or two weeks to two months. With the transition to the chronic stage, there is practically no way to get rid of the infection completely, and the treatment is carried out only symptomatic, with the elimination of especially pronounced symptoms, or the injuries produced.

Trypanosoma cruzi, initially causing only a step, expressed in redness or swelling of the infected skin area, gradually causes symptoms of incredible severity.

The chronic phase, which inevitably manifests itself after a long time interval (sometimes more than 20 years), causes damage to the organs of the cardiovascular system and the gastrointestinal tract, organs of the digestive system, and not only them. Chagas disease is gradually spreading to more developed countries, where it is transferred by people forced by duty or for tourism purposes, to visit the endemic zone of the spread of parasitosis.

Symptoms and signs of the disease

The severity and specificity of the symptoms of the disease depends on the stage of the pathological condition.For each of the ongoing phases of the disease, certain symptoms are characteristic.

The asymptomatic stage, especially in adults and healthy people, proceeds without any pronounced signs indicating an infection has occurred.

Between the phases, there are intermediate periods, during which symptoms can be observed, which can hardly be regarded as a sign of the presence of infection in the body. If these are not pronounced steps, by which they mainly determine the onset of the disease. The transition to acute becomes apparent after the onset of characteristic manifestations, which are regarded as symptoms:

  • rash, urticaria, hyperemia of the affected areas of the skin;
  • swelling of infected tissues accompanying characteristic skin lesions;
  • increased fatigue and chronic fatigue, significant disability;
  • permanent increase in temperature, accompanied by jumps: from high to low and vice versa;
  • enlargement of the lymph nodes, indicating an existing infection in the body;
  • aches and pains in muscles, headaches and migraines;
  • lesions of the spleen or liver, expressed by concomitant symptoms;
  • nausea and vomiting, lack of appetite;
  • permanent stool disorders, more often diarrhea;

Facial edema – as one of the symptoms of the disease

A pronounced symptom of Romagna, manifested when an infection enters through the ocular conjunctiva, as a painless unilateral edema of the eyelids, and sometimes periorbital tissues.

Chronic stage and its manifestations

It is believed that the chronic stage, which occurs for many years in the intervals between acute infectious and parasitic attacks, is relatively asymptomatic. During the chronic stage, diseases are treated that result from the spread of parasites throughout the body.

If in the acute stage the use of antiparasitic drugs is practiced, which inhibit and extinguish the development of Trypanosoma cruzi, then in the chronic stage, organ damage caused by the vital activity of parasitosis is treated.

In the chronic stage of American trypanosomiasis, the following diseases and lesions are regarded as symptoms:

  • palpitations and cardiac arrhythmias;
  • cardiomyopathies and congestive heart failure with syncope;
  • shortness of breath, fainting, shortness of breath;
  • enlargement of the heart chambers, apical aneurysms;
  • degenerative lesions of the vascular system;
  • ventricular arrhythmia and thromboembolism;
  • pulmonary infection from aspiration;
  • dysphagia and small bowel obstruction;
  • prolonged constipation;
  • catastrophic weight loss;
  • permanent abdominal pain and enlargement of the colon;
  • severe difficulty swallowing;
  • emphysema of the lungs.

More than 30% of damage to internal organs becomes irreversible and fatal, cardiovascular and intestinal diseases caused by infection are aggravated by lesions of the nervous system and irreversible malfunctions of the immune system, respiratory and circulatory system diseases.

Death can occur as a result of prolonged damage to vital organs, and in the form of sudden death, or severe and irreversible stroke.

Diagnostics, treatment and prevention

To diagnose Chagas disease in the acute phase of its course in the endemic zone of infection is quite enough. If the disease manifests itself in countries where the infection is not widespread, sometimes there is a difficulty with diagnosis, which is overcome only with the help of specific antibody tests. But quite often the disease is treated as another lesion with similar symptoms.

The acute stage is often fatal, especially in untreated children and adolescents.

It is possible to diagnose the disease by taking anamnesis, visual and physical examination of the patient, microscopic studies showing the presence of a parasite, or antibodies developed to it. African trypanosomiasis differs from the American and the causative agent, and the origin, and various symptoms, therefore, there is usually no need to differentiate the pathogen.

Treatment of an infectious disease

Treatment in the acute phase, especially if the disease does not have a long history, with antiparasitic drugs, can reduce the activity of parasites, and the risk of mortality as a result of their activity.However, in many cases, they do not completely destroy it, and will not lead to eradication.

Medicines for parasites

The damage to organs resulting from the activity of the parasite is irreversible, but, nevertheless, drugs for the treatment of cardiac pathologies, arrhythmic stimulating ones, are practiced, as well as the use of an artificial pacemaker and heart transplant, if there are financial possibilities for this.

When the infection is directed to the gastrointestinal tract, mechanical dilatation of the esophagus or other surgical operations can be performed.