Woman warns – her dog was given ‘kiss of death’ from Kissing Bug bite

April 3, 2016 | by Nestor Mato | CBS 4 News

Many triatomine bugs carry the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease.

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.

A triatomine bug — commonly called a kissing bug — bit her 8-month-old dog.”I feel bad because she’s been given, literally, a death sentence,” said Leal, who lives in San Benito.

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.

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CDC Warns Tennessee Of Kissing Bug, deadly Chagas Disease

November 24, 2015 |NewsChannel 5

To prevent Kissing Bug  infestation the CDC recommends that you:

  • Seal cracks and gaps around windows, walls, roofs and doors
  • Remove wood, brush and rock piles near your house
  • Use screens on doors and windows and repair any holes or tears
  • Seal holes and cracks leading to the attic, crawl spaces below the house, and to the outside
  • Have pets sleep indoors, especially at night
  • Keep your house and any outdoor pet resting areas clean, in addition to periodically checking both areas for the presence of bugs
If you suspect you’ve found a kissing bug, the CDC says don’t squash it. Instead, place it in a container and fill with rubbing alcohol or freeze in water and take to your health department.

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Deadly Chagas Disease – Transmitted from Mother to Baby – Listen as Dr. Peter Hotez answers questions about neglected parasitic infections including deadly Chagas Disease

With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention naming five neglected parasitic infections as a priority for public health action, Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said he is excited about the “renewed commitment to control and prevent them.

“Houston and Texas in many respects represent ‘ground zero’ for many of America’s neglected tropical diseases, including parasitic infections,” said Hotez.  “We’re at the confluence of poverty and a subtropical climate – two of the major factors that promote these infections, which in reality are major health disparities in the United States. Unfortunately, these diseases have been overshadowed by better known infections, even though parasitic infections are much more common.”

The five infections include Chagas disease, cysticercosis, toxocariasis, toxoplasmosis and trichmoniasis. These diseases disproportionately affect Americans who live in extreme poverty and can cause serious illnesses including heart failure, pregnancy complications, seizures and even death.

Dr. Hotez responded to some questions about neglected parasitic infections and what is being done about them.
Hotez co-authored the opening editorial in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, part of a series of articles that coincide with the CDC’s announcement to put focus on these neglected parasitic infections.

The National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine was established in 2011 to address neglected tropical diseases and other infections through education, research and clinical care.

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Deadly Chagas disease in the U.S., affecting people and animals – primarily dogs. Watch out for “kissing bugs”, aka “love bugs”.

November 18, 2015 | by Robert Herriman | Outbreak News Today

Chagas disease, the parasitic infection caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, is found mainly in Latin America, where it is mostly transmitted to humans by the feces of triatomine bugs, known as “kissing bugs”.

The Triatoma or “kissing” bug. Image/CDC

However, in several areas of the United States Chagas is ever present, according to Dr. Peter Hotez, founding dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, who told me in 2013 the number of cases of Chagas disease in the United States to be somewhere between 300,000 and 1 million. The United States is ranked 7th among nations for the amount of cases.

Texas is definitely one state that is battling the neglected tropical disease. According to Texas health officials:

In Texas, approximately 45% of the collected triatomine bugs have tested positive for T. cruzi, and Chagas is considered an endemic disease in dogs. From 2013 to 2014, 351 cases of Chagas disease in animals, primarily dogs, were reported from approximately 20% of Texas counties, representing all geographic regions of the state. Locally-acquired human cases are uncommon, but some have been reported. From 2013 to 2014, 39 human cases of Chagas disease were reported: 24 were acquired in another country, 12 were locally-acquired, and the location of acquisition was unknown for 3.

Local transmission means that the kissing bugs in Texas are infected with the parasite, causing it to spread to humans.

Chagas disease is transmitted naturally in North, Central, and South America. In parts of Mexico and Central and South America, where Chagas disease is considered highly endemic, it is estimated that approximately 8 million people are infected.

Chagas in Texas/Texas Department of Health

The Triatoma or “kissing” bug frequently carry for life the parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi. T. cruzi is a comma shaped flagellated parasite and the cause of an acute and chronic disease called Chagas.

The triatoma bug can be found in poorly constructed homes, with cracks and crevices in the walls or those with thatch roofs. They can also be found in palm trees and the fronds.

Usually at night while sleeping, the insect feeds on people or other mammals. While feeding the insect defecates and the infected feces gets rubbed into the bite wound, eyes abrasions or other skin wounds.

The parasite invades macrophages at or near the site of entry. Here they transform, multiply and rupture from the cells 4-5 days later and enter the blood stream and tissue spaces.

Initial infection with Chagas is typically asymptomatic. Acute disease may manifest symptoms after a couple of weeks.

Reddening of the skin (Chagoma) or edema around the eye (Romana’s sign) may be seen, albeit uncommon.

Fever, malaise, enlarged liver and spleen are part of the acute syndrome. 10% of people develop acute myocaditis with congestive heart failure. This acute disease can be fatal.

After a latent period which may last for years, the infected person may develop chronic disease (20-40%). The most serious consequences are cardiomyopathy (in certain areas it’s the leading cause of death in men less than 45 years of age) and megacolon/megaesophogus.

Trypanosoma cruzi can also be transmitted via congenital transmission (mother to baby), through blood transfusions and organ transplants, and some cases of transmission through feces contaminated food.

About 150 mammals beside humans may serve as reservoirs of the parasite. Dogs, cats, opossoms and rats are among the animals.

Benznidazole and nifurtimox are 100 percent effective in killing the parasite and curing the disease, but only if given soon after infection at the onset of the acute phase, according to the WHO.

There is no vaccine for Chaga’s, so preventive measures should include insecticide spraying of infested houses.

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California study examines genetic diversity of Kissing Bugs…concludes deadly Chagas disease may be underdiagnosed in U.S.

January 21, 2016 | MedicalXpress.com

Trypanosoma cruzi is a protozoan parasite that can cause an insidious onset of Chagas disease, a fatal cardiac disease in humans and dogs. The parasite is transmitted via triatomine insects, commonly called kissing bugs. In Latin America T. cruzi is recognized as an economically important parasite; however, there is limited research regarding its spread and virulence in the USA. As a result, while the genetic diversity of the T. cruzi parasite has been well studied in Latin America less is known about the strains endemic to the USA.

“Chagas disease should be considered as a potential cause of cardiac illness in humans and dogs.”

Researchers from the University of California, Davis, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine assessed the prevalence of T. cruzi from northern and southern California regions. The researchers used a combination of methods to obtain triatomine insects, including active collection via black light traps and the enlistment of private property owners and public health officials in specimen submission. DNA was extracted from the specimens and screened for T. cruzi via molecular techniques. Positive samples were genetically typed into one of six recognized T. cruzi subgroups (TcI – TcVI). Finally, the researchers performed genetic analyses to examine the potential virulence of the California T. cruzi samples as compared to infective T. cruzi strains from Latin America.

Of the 29 specimens from northern California 55% were infected, while T. cruzi was detected in 34% of the 53 samples collected from one of the southern California locations. Two separate subtypes were found—with 20 parasites falling into the TcI subgroup and 2 into TcIV. The TcIV subgroup was not detected in the northern California region. Genetic analyses did not reveal any particular unique characteristics to distinguish the California samples from several Latin American strains known to infect humans.

This research suggests that the apparent rarity of locally-acquired Chagas disease in the USA is unlikely due to any genetic difference in the infectious capabilities of the parasite. Rather, the fact that local triatomine species (e.g. Triatoma protracta) do not frequently colonize human homes, likely translates to decreased T. cruzi transmission. Alternatively, locally-acquired Chagas disease may simply be underdiagnozed. At present only four states in the USA list Chagas disease as a reportable illness, and California is not among them. This means that the public, as well as physicians and veterinary practitioners, may have decreased awareness of the dangers posed by this disease.

Based on this research, in areas where Triatoma protracta populations are evident, Chagas disease should be considered as a potential cause of cardiac illness in humans and dogs.

The study is published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Pet Owners Should Be Aware Of ‘Kissing Bugs,’ With Deadly Bites

By Barbara Diamond |LittleThings.com

Did you know?

Hundreds of dogs have died from something called Chagas Disease, and there are many cases that have yet to be diagnosed and reported. In Texas alone, it’s estimated that the insects that transmit the awful disease are infected at a rate of 17 to 48 percent.

Chagas Disease is a very serious illness caused by a parasite known as Trypanosoma cruzi, or the “kissing bug.” Animals that live in South and Central America are particularly at risk of contracting Chagas, though we’ve started to see more cases in the southern United States. Since Chagas Disease is relatively new to the U.S. — and its initial symptoms can mimic those of other infections — it’s not uncommon for veterinarians to initially misdiagnose the disease. The telltale sign, however, is heart failure, inflammation of the heart, and/or other heart problems.

Read on so that you and your family can be prepared:

In 2014, a slew of dogs in Texas were falling over and dying, seemingly without reason. Veterinarians were stunned to discover it was Chagas Disease, caused by a parasite known as the “kissing bug.” The disease has been a major human health issue in Central and South America, but has begun to pop up in the southern United States — threatening the canine population.
In 2014, a slew of dogs in Texas were falling over and dying, seemingly without reason. Veterinarians were stunned to discover it was Chagas Disease, caused by a parasite known as the "kissing bug." The disease has been a major human health issue in Central and South America, but has begun to pop up in the southern United States — threatening the canine population.

University of Florida

After being bitten by a kissing bug in Texas, Kiska was nearly on her deathbed; her heart was giving out. Since there is no cure, Kiska now lives with a pacemaker.

After being bitten by a kissing bug in Texas, Kiska was nearly on her deathbed; her heart was giving out. Since there is no cure, Kiska now lives with a pacemaker.

Kissing bugs like to feed at night. Buddy and his dad learned this firsthand when, during an evening walk, Buddy suddenly collapsed. Tests revealed Buddy had contracted Chagas Disease. Dogs can be infected either by eating the bug or when the bug bites and passes fecal matter into the wound.

Kissing bugs like to feed at night. Buddy and his dad learned this firsthand when, during an evening walk, Buddy suddenly collapsed. Tests revealed Buddy had contracted Chagas Disease. Dogs can be infected either by eating the bug or when the bug bites and passes fecal matter into the wound.

Kissing bugs are also known to bite humans, but Chagas Disease cannot be passed from dogs to humans. Young children or people with weakened immune systems are most at risk. Shortly after being bitten, acute symptoms of Chagas Disease may be swelling and/or redness at the skin infection site, rash, swollen lymph nodes, fever and nausea.

Kissing bugs are also known to bite humans, but Chagas Disease cannot be passed from dogs to humans. Young children or people with weakened immune systems are most at risk. Shortly after being bitten, acute symptoms of Chagas Disease may be swelling and/or redness at the skin infection site, rash, swollen lymph nodes, fever and nausea.

 If you live in an area prone to kissing bugs and notice your pet exhibiting these signs (or any strange behavior), schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as quickly as possible.

If you live in an area prone to kissing bugs and notice your pet exhibiting these signs (or any strange behavior), schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as quickly as possible.

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