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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Kissing bugs can give kiss of death

December 18, 2015 | Big Country Home

(AUSTIN, TX) – Kissing bugs continue to creep across the state and experts say the threat these insects can carry may be worse than expected. 

 “I am really amazed to read that 64% of them have Trypanosoma cruzi,” said Nancy Moran, a professor of Integrative Biology at University of Texas-Austin.

Trypanosoma cruzi is a parasite that can lead to Chagas disease, a potentially deadly disease that can cause heart failure.

In response to the report that 64 percent of kissing bugs carry the parasite, Moran said, “It suggests that a lot of Texans could be afflicted with Chagas disease possibly without being properly diagnosed.”

In humans, the infection can start with flu-like symptoms–fever, body aches, nausea, vomiting–but the infection can also stay silent for decades. Heart and intestinal complications can surface years after a person is infected, or not at all.

“We’ve tested a few dogs that we may have been suspicious of,” said veterinarian, Dr. Amber Breclaw.

“It is a scary prospect that yes these bugs can bite your animal and cause a disease that leads to heart failure,” Breclaw said.

“experts say the threat these insects can carry may be worse than expected.”

In Texas, the kissing bugs are most commonly found in the southern part of the state. Indigenous to Latin America, the threat kissing bugs pose is fairly new to Texas, but it’s a threat that continues to spread.

In dogs, the infection can be a little more difficult to spot. Symptoms start with a loss of energy and a decrease in appetite and if the infection is not caught early, there is no treatment to save the animal.

  
Blood tests are the only way to confirm if a person or pet has been infected.

Breclaw and Moran said they don’t want people to panic, but it us important for Texans to be aware that kissing bugs are out there.

The nocturnal insects are most active at night and typically live beneath porches, between rocks, under cement and brush piles.

To best protect yourself and your pets, keep dogs inside at night.

If you think your or your animal has been bit by a kissing bug, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.