AMARILLO – Fifty dogs are reportedly being tested in Amarillo and Lubbock for Chagas disease after a kissing bug tests positive for the disease.
“They will be testing some animals in partnership with the Department of State Health Services at the Department of Animal Management and Welfare,” said Casie Stoughton, the Public Health Director in Amarillo.
Stoughton says even though the dogs are being tested, there really isn’t a serious risk for the disease locally.
She says with our climate it isn’t common because kissing bugs are usually found in humid climates.
“It’s not shocking but again the sustained transmission of a condition like that is very, very low in the Texas Panhandle,” added Stoughton.
Stoughton recommends to always look out for odd insects around your home.
“Just avoiding those unknowns, unidentifiable bugs but again the risk of coming into contact with an insect that would carry Chagas is really rare in Amarillo, Texas.”
The Health Department in Lubbock is willing to test a bug if you see an odd one.
They do recommend you not touch a bug with your bare hand.
Stoughton says if you do see something you haven’t seen before, you can contact them.
Stoughton said, “We are happy if somebody has a concern, we are happy to help with consultation.”