April 3, 2016 | by Nestor Mato | CBS 4 News
San Benito woman warns about potentially deadly Chagas disease spread by ‘kissing bug’
For Lisa Leal’s dog, a bug bite became the kiss of death.
Many triatomine bugs carry the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease.
“The bugs are found in houses made from materials such as mud, adobe, straw, and palm thatch. During the day, the bugs hide in crevices in the walls and roofs,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. “During the night, when the inhabitants are sleeping, the bugs emerge. Because they tend to feed on people’s faces, triatomine bugs are also known as ‘kissing bugs.'”
Chagas disease may later cause intestinal and cardiac complications, including sudden death.
Leal’s dog is already suffering heart problems.
Veterinarian Noel Ramirez said there’s no sure way to avoid Chagas disease.
“It happens within city limits. It happens out in the country,” Ramirez said. “There’s not a whole lot of prevention that we can do.”
In humans, Chagas disease can be diagnosed with a blood test. Treatment varies depending on the symptoms.