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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11 things parents need to know about kissing bugs, aka ‘love bugs’ (both cousins to the bedbug) and deadly Chagas Disease

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December 4, 2015 | by Dr. Peter Hotez, President of Sabin Vaccine Institute

Experts at the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine have been studying Chagas disease and working on a therapeutic vaccine for it. Here are the important things to know about the kissing bug and about Chagas disease:

1.  Chagas disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis, is a serious infection caused by a parasitic microorganism, Trypanosoma cruzi, and is transmitted by kissing bugs.

2.  Chagas disease is a leading cause of heart disease resulting in a debilitating and often fatal condition known as Chagasic cardiomyopathy. One in six people with Chagasic cardiomyopathy will die within five years.

3.  An estimated 9 million people are infected in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in impoverished areas. According to the World Health Organization, the largest number of people living with Chagas disease are in poor areas of Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, while Bolivia has the highest percentage of people infected.

4.  The infection can be passed from mother to baby. There are an estimated 40,000 pregnant women in North America alone who have Chagas, and they will transmit the infection to their babies around 5 percent of the time.

5.  The CDC estimates that 300,000 cases occur in the United States, mostly imported from Latin America.

6.  Scientists at the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor, including Drs. Kristy Murray and Melissa Nolan Garcia, have uncovered a previously unrecognized level of transmission in the state of Texas.

7.  A high percentage of the kissing bugs in Texas are infected with the trypanosome parasite and show evidence of feeding on human blood.

8.  Dogs, cats and horses also can be infected.

9.  Researchers are finding cases among hunters and campers, as well as people who live in poverty in Texas. Those with extended outdoor exposure appear to have the greatest risk of acquiring the disease.

10.  Repeat exposures are likely necessary to acquire infection.

11.  Drug treatments are available, but they do not always work and are highly toxic. In collaboration with the Sabin Vaccine Institute and the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, the National School of Tropical Medicine is developing a new therapeutic vaccine for Chagas disease.

About Dr. Peter Hotez, president of Sabin Vaccine Institute: The US Science Envoy, Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital Chair in Tropical Pediatrics and President-Sabin Vaccine Institute.

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New Study Suggests Even the Toughest Pesticide Regulations Aren’t Nearly Tough Enough

As in most states, regulators in California measure the effect of only one pesticide at a time. But farmers often use several pesticides together—and that’s a big, toxic problem.

“Acting together, these effects multiply. So even pesticides that don’t cause cancer on their own might do so together by interfering with or overwhelming the body’s ability to clear toxic substances, or harming DNA and then blocking mechanisms to repair it.”

February 23, 2016 | by Liza Gross | The Nation

California officials have long touted their pesticide regulations as the toughest in the nation. But a new report from the University of California, Los Angeles, reveals a major flaw in the state’s approach to evaluating safety, one that has broad implications for the way pesticides are regulated nationally: Regulators assess pesticide safety one product at a time, but growers often apply pesticides as mixtures. That’s a serious problem, the authors argue, because pesticide interactions can ratchet up toxic effects, greatly enhancing the risk of cancer and other serious health conditions.

“The federal EPA and California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) have not adequately dealt with interactive effects,” says John Froines, a report coauthor and a chemist with decades of experience assessing health risks of toxic chemicals as a scientist and regulator. “People are exposed to a large number of chemicals. You can’t simply look chemical by chemical to adequately address the toxicity of these compounds.”

Fumigants, used to combat a range of pests and diseases, are among the most toxic chemicals used in agriculture. They are a staple of high-value crops like tomatoes and strawberries. Studies in humans and animals have linked them to acute respiratory and skin damage and serious chronic health problems, including cancer and neurological and reproductive disorders.

To get around the state’s failure to collect data on cumulative exposures to these fumigants, Froines and his colleagues drew on what’s known about the chemical and biological properties of three of the most heavily used fumigants in California: chloropicrin, Telone (the trade name for 1,3-dichloropropene), and metam sodium.

Individual fumigants are highly reactive chemicals that damage DNA and interfere with proteins that perform critical cell functions. Acting together, these effects multiply. So even pesticides that don’t cause cancer on their own might do so together by interfering with or overwhelming the body’s ability to clear toxic substances, or harming DNA and then blocking mechanisms to repair it.

These interactive effects would not be detected in studies of individual pesticides.

Pesticide regulators are aware of the report, says California DPR spokesperson Charlotte Fadipe, but adds that the agency rarely comments on such studies because “the information often lacks the extensive rigorous science for a regulatory department to make regulations.” What’s more, she notes, “DPR has the most protective and robust pesticide program in the country.”

Froines, who served as director of the Office of Toxic Substances at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration under President Jimmy Carter and has led several scientific review panels at the state’s request to assess chemical toxicity, has revealed flaws in pesticide regulations before. In 2010, he headed a California scientific review panel that deemed chloropicrin—one of the fumigants studied in the current report—a “potent carcinogen.” State officials ignored the panel’s advice and decided the evidence was ambiguous. The same year, he chaired another review panel that called the fumigant methyl iodide a “highly toxic chemical” that poses a serious threat to public health. This time, manufacturers withdrew the product from the market.

With few restrictions on combining pesticides, growers often use multiple-chemical formulations or apply different fumigants to adjoining fields or in close succession. That exposes people who live, work, and go to school near these fields to several fumigants at once, despite growing evidence that these chemical concoctions pose even greater health risks.

As reported by the Food & Environment Reporting Network and The Nation last April, residents of Oxnard, a strawberry-growing stronghold in Southern California where most residents are Latino, had worried for years about the risks of heavy exposure to fumigants.

Rio Mesa High School students were twice as likely as white kids to go to schools near heavy fumigant use. And though regulators admitted as much in addressing a complaint filed by several parents, they did little to restrict fumigant use near schools. In fact, the year after EPA officials dismissed the families’ complaint, growers dramatically increased their use of toxic fumigants around Rio Mesa.

Less than a month after the Nation story ran, the Department of Pesticide Regulation announced it would revisit restrictions on pesticide use near schools after seeking public input through statewide workshops. Officials promised to deliver new rules last December, then pushed back the date, saying they hadn’t reviewed all the public comments. DPR spokesperson Fadipe says they’re still working on draft regulations but can’t say for sure when they’ll issue the draft rules.

The UCLA report shows that going to school at Rio Mesa still poses a health risk. The authors used standard EPA air dispersion models and pesticide use data collected by state regulators to simulate likely fumigant dispersion patterns around the school. They chose Rio Mesa in part because an on-site air monitor shows that fumigants are escaping into the air. As expected, their modeling results show that overlapping exposures occur at Rio Mesa—two years after EPA dismissed community concerns—and at other locations, including schools and daycare centers.

These results underscore the importance of establishing no-spray zones around schools and other sensitive sites as soon as possible, activists say.

“This new report on fumigants is a stark reminder that regulatory agencies have largely failed to regulate toxic chemicals,” says Bruce Lanphear, professor of health sciences at Simon Fraser University and an expert on the impacts of toxic exposures on the developing brain who was not involved in the report. “We are all exposed to a cocktail of dozens, if not hundreds of chemicals, which can have similar detoxification mechanisms and modes of action.”

Regulators must consider synergistic effects of pesticides in risk assessments, the authors say. They contend that a California law requires state agencies to consider cumulative impacts and that interactive effects from pesticides fall under that law. They urge state officials to make several changes to pesticide regulations to uphold their mission to protect public health.

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Disturbing Map of NYC Parks/Public Areas shows Roundup herbicide Glyphosate INCREASING

February 23, 2016 | by Julie M. Rodriguez |  Inhabitat.com

Bad news, New Yorkers — if you like to take long walks or pay visits to your local park, you’ve probably been exposed to glyphosate, the cancer-linked main ingredient of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. In response to concerned citizen groups, the New York City government released a report last year detailing pesticide use by its agencies. And now, if you’d like to see whether you’re at risk, Reverend Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir have created a disturbing new map that charts every park and public area known to be treated with the toxic compound. You can view the map here.

The data shows that in 2014 alone, the city applied glyphosate 2,748 times within the city. While the recent numbers are alarming enough all on their own, what’s even worse is the fact that glyphosate use within the city seems to be increasing — the amount sprayed jumped 16% from 2013 to 2014.

Why is NYC drenching its parks in a chemical that World Health Organization classes as a probable carcinogen? Studies have repeatedly linked the herbicide to cancer dating back to the 1980s, and farmers have even filed suit against Monsanto alleging that exposure to glyphosate caused them to develop the disease. The company, naturally, has fought back against this research by suing states that try to regulate the use of the herbicide.

glyphosate, pesticide, herbicide, roundup, monsanto, roundup cancer link, new york city, nyc, roundup spraying

 

Glyphosate is BANNED in France, Netherlands, Bermuda and Sri Lanka.  Switzerland and Germany begin to REFUSE stocking Roundup.

While cities like NYC and San Francisco may have no problem with spraying this controversial chemical all over their streets, other governments are beginning to crack down on glyphosate use. France has banned the sale of the herbicide over the counter, along with the Netherlands, Bermuda, and Sri Lanka. In Switzerland and Germany, major retailers have begun refusing to stock Roundup even in the absence of government regulation. The evidence of Roundup’s toxic effects is strong enough for the leaders of these nations and corporations to pull it from the shelves, and New York City needs to stand up and take note.

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Watch the lifecycle of parasite that causes deadly Chagas disease – transmitted by the Kissing Bug…aka the Love Bug – both cousins to the BedBug

The cause of Chagas disease is the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which is transmitted to humans from a bite from an insect known as the triatomine bug. These insects can become infected by T. cruzi when they ingest blood from an animal already infected with the parasite.
This video was produced by Dirceu Esdras Teixeira, Marlene Benchimol, Wanderley de Souza and Paul Crepaldi on August 30, 2012.

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“All Walls Down” song – The Solution to tropical diseases and the bedbug problem is through Tolerance & Mindfulness of each other

Music and song lead the message and movement to help each other.  Radiate positive vibes with the smash-hit song “All Walls Down”.

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Enjoy this smash-hit song written by KiltronX and Joe Beaty [Mind Like Water] and produced and recorded by Tony Bongiovi at the famous Power Station Studio.   This song was created to bring awareness of the risk of Chagas disease through bedbugs and kissing bugs (aka “love bugs”).

Chagas disease has already affected as many as 50 million people in the world and as many as 1.5 million people in the U.S. alone.

We are all connected.  If the poor are more exposed to the deadly Chagas disease then we ALL are.  The free roaming love bugs & kissing bugs and undercover bedbugs do not discriminate – nor do they ask for a financial statement before sucking the blood of their victims.

Bedbugs can be found in all states and all cities and love bugs and kissing bugs have spread outward and up through all states bordering the Gulf of Mexico, along the Atlantic coast, the West coast and north.

Dr. Peter Hotez of the National School of Tropical Medicine says “low-income neighborhoods … are at greater risk for infection”.  Because of their predilection for the poor, Hotez calls these infections “the forgotten diseases [Chagas] of forgotten people”.

Chagas disease not only affects humans but also their pets – be it horses, dogs, cats, livestock.  Our pets are among the most innocent and have no protection.

Awareness and preparedness are crucial to saving lives.

#SayNOtoPesticides!

 

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. 

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.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

Chagas Disease and your Dog; Breeders, Threat is Real

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If done properly, kisses aren’t often considered deadly.

Just don’t try it on a kissing bug.

Chagas Disease is a tropical disease spread by kissing bugs carrying the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite. These bugs are so called because they usually bite victims around the mouth during the night.

The insects then transfer the parasite to their host, either through defecating at the bite site or infecting mucus membranes. It may take weeks or longer for symptoms to appear, according to the Mayo Clinic website.

A 2014 CBS 11 news report on kissing bugs lead to viewers throughout North Texas reporting sightings of the bugs. Reports came in from cities including Arlington, Fort Worth, Grapevine, Keller and Grand Prairie.

Perhaps the most recognizable human symptom is swelling of the eyelid on the side of the infection site — something called the Romana sign, epidemiology professor Susan Cherry said.

However, almost all other symptoms are vague, including fever, fatigue, body aches, headaches and swelling of the infection site.

There is no treatment for Chagas Disease. Blood donations are usually tested for tropical diseases, but with blood screening not required, most people don’t know they have it until they are contacted by testing labs.

It was the threat to dogs that caught Cherry’s attention.

Cherry breeds West Highland Terriers and believes the death of one of her dogs last year was because of Chagas.

“I had her put to sleep,” she said.

Cherry’s lectures include units on insect-borne illnesses, but Chagas was not one of them.

After NBC 5 reported on the disease in November, Cherry started researching Chagas and discussing it with her students.

In 2014, Texas A&M University released a study through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reporting 1-in-10 shelter dogs in Texas tested positive for Chagas Disease.

The report also states that 8 million people across Mexico, Central and South America have been affected by the illness.

Integrative biology professor Sahotra Sharkar of UT-Austin published a study in 2010 on the spread of Chagas Disease.

When he began studying Chagas 15 years ago, Sharkar said he knew it was a matter of time before it was discovered in the United States.

“I realized that in Texas, there was quite likely a lot of Chagas that was not being recognized,” he said.

His research involved trapping kissing bugs with the help of UV light and carbon dioxide. They then stored the bugs in alcohol and extracted the parasite responsible for the disease.

Reports of Chagas cases in North and Central Texas have not surprised Sharkar. He said Chagas has only now been discussed because it became reportable in 2013.

This means state and federal law requires doctors and labs to report all diagnoses. This is usually because the illness poses a great public health risk.

History junior David Edwards was surprised there is no treatment for the infection.

Edwards believes America’s status as a superpower ensures Americans will be among the first patients treated once a cure is discovered.

“I feel like we would make it first,” he said.

Another possible source of infection is contaminated meat.

“Oral transmission of Chagas is very, very common,” Sharkar said.

Once ingested, Cherry said cases in southern regions have shown patients lose their ability to eat.

“They are trying to treat it with antiparasitics,” Cherry said of recent diagnoses. “From what I understand, it can manage some of the symptoms, but it doesn’t kill the parasite.”

Sharkar said the public should be vigilant in taking preventative measures against kissing bugs. Such measures include making sure houses or tents are insect-proof and having blood screenings.

Cherry said she encourages her nursing students to listen to the news and share their medical knowledge with loved ones.

Spreading knowledge is something Cherry said is a nurse’s obligation to society.

“You can’t just hold this knowledge in, you’ve got to scare the heck out of people,” she said, laughing.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

 

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