Bed Bugs that feed (on YOU) are more likely to survive pesticide exposure

bedbug_eating.jpgJanuary 26, 2016 | by Entomological Society of America | ScienceDaily

Bed bugs that take blood meals after being exposed to pesticides are more likely to survive, according to research. The researchers suggest that insecticide efficacy testing protocols should be changed so that they include using recently fed bed bugs, and that bugs that are fed one to three days after being exposed to pesticides.


Many studies have been done on how effective certain pesticides are when they are applied to bed bugs. However, most have not allowed the bed bugs to take a blood meal after being exposed to pesticides, which can change the mortality rates, according to an article in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

Researchers from Rutgers University found that bed bugs that were allowed to feed after being treated with insecticides either had greater rates of survival, or they took longer to die than bed bugs that were not allowed to feed after being treated.

“Our results indicated that post-treatment feeding significantly reduced or slowed down bed bug mortality,” the researchers wrote.

In one case, bed bugs that were unable to feed after being sprayed with an insecticide had a mortality rate of 94 percent. But bed bugs that did feed after being sprayed with the same insecticide had a mortality rate of just 4 percent after 11 days.

This difference is important because most experiments that test the efficacy of insecticides against bed bugs are performed in labs where the bed bugs can’t feed after being exposure. However, in the field, bed bugs can feed after being treated with an insecticide, and the reduced or slowed mortality could give them a chance to reproduce.

“Many of the insecticides labeled for bed bug control may not be as effective as claimed, because of the inadequate testing method,” said Dr. Narinderpal Singh, one of the co-authors. “People often use laboratory bioassay results to predict field performance of an insecticide. It is important the testing conditions are similar to what would occur in the field. Current established test protocols for bed bug insecticides do not provide bloodmeals to bed bugs during the test period. We suspect the mortality data typically observed might be different if the tested bed bugs were provided a bloodmeal during the observation period.”

The researchers suggest that feeding “stimulates detoxification enzymes responsible for insecticide resistance,” which is why more bed bugs survive after taking bloodmeals, so using insecticides in tandem with other control methods is the best option.

“Incorporating non-chemical methods into bed bug control is very important in order to achieve good results,” said Singh.

The researchers also suggest that insecticide efficacy testing protocols should be changed so that they include using recently fed bed bugs, and that bugs that are fed one to three days after being exposed to pesticides.


The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Entomological Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.  Journal Reference: Narinderpal Singh, Changlu Wang, Richard Cooper. Posttreatment Feeding Affects Mortality of Bed Bugs (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) Exposed to Insecticides. Journal of Economic Entomology, 2015; tov293 DOI: 10.1093/jee/tov293


[Examples of non-chemical methods include vacuuming visible bed bugs, laundering bed sheets and infested clothing using Live Free Dryer Strips, using Live Free Mattresses Covers and Live Free Box Spring Wraps and installing Live Free Leg Booties around the legs of beds and upholstered furniture.]

 #SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

‘Chagas Considered Emerging Global Disease’ – CSUF Researchers study spread of Plague to Parasites. Note, Kissing Bugs are cousins to Bed Bugs.

Study Suggests What We Already Feared: Bedbugs May Be Getting Stronger

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April 15, 2016 | Steven Hoffer Senior Editor | The Huffington Post

In case your phobia of bedbugs wasn’t torturous enough, here comes a new study that suggests the pesky insects are getting stronger.

Researchers in Australia found the bedbugs with a thicker “skin” are more resistant to common pesticides. The pests are becoming more prevalent, and the scientists hypothesized that these thicker exoskeletons could be one reason why.

The study, published in the journal Plos One on Wednesday, found that the thicker the exoskeleton, or cuticle, of a bedbug, the more time it took to “knock down” the insect — which was defined as the bugs not being able to get back up when they were stunned or knocked out by pesticides.

“The new findings reveal that one way bed bugs beat insecticides is by developing a thicker ‘skin,’” David Lily, a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney and a co-author of the study, said in a statement.

Be it pesticides or insults, this BED BUG couldn’t care less!  Photo: AP

The scientists studied the bedbugs using a pyrethroid insecticide, a class of chemicals that bedbugs have become increasingly resistant to, Lilly told Newsweek.

The researchers found that the mean cuticle thickness of a bedbug positively correlated to the time it took to “knockdown,” with significant differences between bugs knocked down within two hours, four hours, and those that were still unaffected at 24 hours, according to the study.

And in case you’re thinking “Didn’t I already know this?” that’s because you did. In January, another study conducted in the U.S. found that the bugs are becoming resistant to other pesticides.

Deep breaths. Sleep tight and Be afraid…be very afraid.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

This Year’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ Produce Named Worst for Pesticide Exposure – and ‘Clean 15’

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April 12, 2016 | By Ashley Hayes | WebMD Health News

Strawberries claim the top spot on this year’s “Dirty Dozen” list of produce containing pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Apples, which had topped the annual list for the past five years, dropped to second. The list was released Tuesday.

Nearly all strawberry samples tested – 98% — had detectable pesticide residues, according to the advocacy group. Forty percent had residues of 10 or more pesticides, while some had residues of 17 different pesticides.

Some of those chemicals are “relatively benign,” according to the organization, but others may be linked to diseases, hormone disruption, neurological problems and reproductive or developmental damage.

“It is startling to see how heavily strawberries are contaminated with residues of hazardous pesticides,” says Sonya Lunder, EWG senior analyst, in a statement. The levels are acceptable under current regulations; Lunder called for government levels to be updated to reflect the latest research.

Avocadoes, meanwhile, topped the EWG’s “Clean Fifteen” list, of produce least likely to be tainted by pesticides.

The group bases its analysis on testing of more than 35,000 samples by the USDA and FDA. USDA washed and peeled the produce to mimic what consumers do at home.

The annual report has received criticism, with some experts saying the rankings are arbitrary and there’s no need to fear conventionally-grown produce .

The “Dirty Dozen” list has been “discredited by the scientific community,” the Alliance for Food & Farming, a nonprofit group including about 50 agricultural associations, commodity groups and individual growers and shippers, in a statement Tuesday.

The EWG bases its report on the USDA Pesticide Data Program report, the Alliance for Food & Farming says, but the USDA has said those findings “pose no safety concern.”

Before a pesticide can be used, the EPA must determine “that it will not pose unreasonable risks to human health or the environment.”

For its part, the EWG says on its website it “always recommends eating fruits and vegetables, even conventionally grown, over processed foods and other less healthy alternatives.”

The 2016 Dirty Dozen list:
1. Strawberries
2. Apples
3. Nectarines
4. Peaches
5. Celery
6. Grapes
7. Cherries
8. Spinach
9. Tomatoes
10. Sweet bell peppers
11. Cherry tomatoes
12. Cucumbers

Also of note, according to the EWG, are leafy greens such as kale or collard greens and hot peppers. While those foods did not meet traditional ranking criteria for the Dirty Dozen list, they are “frequently found to be contaminated with insecticides toxic to the human nervous system,” according to the report.

The 2016 Clean Fifteen:
1. Avocados
2. Sweet corn
3. Pineapples
4. Cabbage
5. Frozen sweet peas
6. Onions
7. Asparagus
8. Mangoes
9. Papayas
10. Kiwi
11. Eggplant
12. Honeydew melon
13. Grapefruit
14. Cantaloupe
15. Cauliflower

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

 

 

Depressed? Landmark 20-Year Study Finds Pesticides Linked to Depression In Farmers

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A landmark study indicates that seven pesticides, some widely used, may be causing clinical depression in farmers. Will the government step in and start regulating these chemical tools?

Earlier this fall, researchers from the National Institute of Health finished up a landmark 20-year study, a study that hasn’t received the amount of coverage it deserves. About 84,000 farmers and spouses of farmers were interviewed since the mid-1990s to investigate the connection between pesticides and depression, a connection that had been suggested through anecdotal evidence for far longer. We called up Dr. Freya Kamel, the lead researcher on the study, to find out what the team learned and what it all means. Spoiler: nothing good.

“There had been scattered reports in the literature that pesticides were associated with depression,” says Kamel. “We wanted to do a new study because we had more detailed data than most people have access to.” That excessive amount of data includes tens of thousands of farmers, with specific information about which pesticides they were using and whether they had sought treatment for a variety of health problems, from pesticide poisoning to depression. Farmers were surveyed multiple times throughout the 20-year period, which gives the researchers an insight into their health over time that no other study has.

“I don’t think there’s anything surprising about the fact that pesticides would affect neurologic function.”

Because the data is so excessive, the researchers have mined it three times so far, the most recent time in a study published just this fall. The first one was concerned with suicide, the second with depression amongst the spouses of farmers (Kamel says “pesticide applicators,” but most of the people applying pesticides are farmers), and the most recent with depression amongst the farmers themselves.

There’s a significant correlation between pesticide use and depression, that much is very clear, but not all pesticides. The two types that Kamel says reliably moved the needle on depression are organochlorine insecticides and fumigants, which increase the farmer’s risk of depression by a whopping 90% and 80%, respectively. The study lays out the seven specific pesticides, falling generally into one of those two categories, that demonstrated a categorically reliable correlation to increased risk of depression.

These types aren’t necessarily uncommon, either; one, called malathion, was used by 67% of the tens of thousands of farmers surveyed. Malathion is banned in Europe, for what that’s worth.

I asked whether farmers were likely to simply have higher levels of depression than the norm, given the difficulties of the job — long hours, low wages, a lack of power due to government interference, that kind of thing — and, according to Kamel, that wasn’t a problem at all. “We didn’t have to deal with overreporting [of depression] because we weren’t seeing that,” she says. In fact, only 8% of farmers surveyed sought treatment for depression, lower than the norm, which is somewhere around 10% in this country. That doesn’t mean farmers are less likely to suffer from depression, only that they’re less likely to seek treatment for it, and that makes the findings, if anything, even stronger.

The study doesn’t really deal with exactly how the pesticides are affecting the farmers. Insecticides are designed to disrupt the way nerves work, sometimes inhibiting specific enzymes or the way nerve membranes work, that kind of thing. It’s pretty complicated, and nobody’s quite sure where depression fits in. “How this ultimately leads to depression, I don’t know that anyone can really fill in the dots there,” says Kamel. But essentially, the pesticides are designed to mess with the nerves of insects, and in certain aspects, our own nervous systems are similar enough to those of insects that we could be affected, too. “I don’t think there’s anything surprising about the fact that pesticides would affect neurologic function,” says Kamel, flatly.

Kamel speaks slowly and precisely, and though her voice is naturally a little quavery, she answered questions confidently and at one point made fun of me a little for a mischaracterization I’d made in a question. The one time she hesitated was when I asked what she thought the result of the study should be; it’s a huge deal, finding out that commonly used pesticides, pesticides approved for use by our own government, are wreaking havoc on the neurological systems of farmers. Kamel doesn’t recommend policy; she’s a scientist and would only go so far as to suggest that we should cut down on the use of pesticides in general.

Others are going further. Melanie Forti, of a farmer advocacy group based in DC, told Vice, “There should be more regulations on the type of pesticides being used.” With any luck, this study will lead to a thorough reexamination of the chemical weapons allowed by farmers.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

Back in 2011 we had alarming find: Bedbugs with ‘superbug’ germs MRSA and VRE

BBB

May 14, 2011 | by Christian Nordqvist | MNT, Medical News Today

Not only are there more bed bugs about in North America in Europe, but more of them appear to be carrying two types of superbugs – methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) – bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and very hard to treat when there is an infection.

Staph infection caused by MRSA is extremely difficult to treat because it is resistant to most antibiotics, including oxacillin, peicillin, methicillin, amoxicillin, and even methicillin.

VRE bacteria are resistant to vancomycin, an antibiotic. They are strains of the genus Enterococcus.

Bed bugs, also known as Cimex lectularius (Cimicidae) are tiny wingless insects that feed exclusively on the blood of warm-blooded animals, including humans. During their evolution they have become common nest parasites, infesting bird nests and bat roosts. Some bed bugs have learnt how to thrive in our nests, meaning our homes, and especially our beds. A baby bed bug is called a nymph and is about the size of a poppy seed. Adults reach about ¼ of an inch in length. They have an oval, flattened shape. Both adults and young are visible to the naked eye.

Bed bugs feed on us when we are asleep. As they feed we feel nothing, the process is painless. They inject a small amount of saliva into human skin while they feed. If they keep feeding on the same human night after night, that person can eventually develop a mild to intense allergic response to their saliva.

The study’s Canadian researchers wrote:

“Further studies are needed to characterize the association between S. aureus and bedbugs. Bed bug carriage of MRSA, and the portal of entry provided through feeding, suggests a plausible potential mechanism for passive transmission of bacteria during a blood meal. Because of the insect’s ability to compromise the skin integrity of its host, and the propensity for S. aureus to invade damaged skin, bed bugs may serve to amplify MRSA infections in impoverished urban communities.”
This latest report informs that the MRSA phenotype found in bed bugs is the same as those identified in many Eastside (Vancouver) patients infected with MRSA.

The scientists believe that the bed bugs probably promote the spread of MRSA in impoverished and overcrowded communities. The study took place in a poor part of Vancouver.

The researchers examined five bed bugs that had been taken from three patients staying at St. Paul’s Hospital – they all lived in Downtown Eastside, a poor part of Vancouver. In that part of Vancouver, MRSA infection incidence and cases of bed bugs had been rising steadily over the last few years. The scientists wanted to determine whether the two were linked.

They examined the bed bugs and found that three samples carried MRSA, while another two had VRE.

We still do not know whether the humans infected the bed bugs or the other way round. Further research is needed to determine where exactly on/in the bed bug the bacteria were – inside them or on their backs.

If bed bugs are able to carry and spread MRSA like the anopheles mosquito spreads malaria, we could be looking at a completely new vector of human disease.

Study author, Marc Romney, said:

“Even though this is a small study, it suggests that bedbugs may be playing a role in the transmission of MRSA in inner-city populations where bedbug infestations are a problem.”

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

How much evidence is needed ? Study released on effects of low dose pesticide poisoning…NYC

 

April 5, 2016 | by Michael Howell | Bitterroot Star

Local wildlife rehabilitator Judy Hoy is one of the authors cited in a study recently published in the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine which claims to demonstrate that even low doses of glyphosates, a chemical ingredient in many pesticides, can be considered a serious health problem. Lead author of the study is Nancy Swanson, PhD from Abacus Enterprises in Washington state, and Stephanie Seneff, from the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. The article is entitled: “Evidence that glyphosate is a causative agent in chronic sub-clinical metabolic acidosis and mitochondrial dysfunction.”

The article claims that it is a well-established fact that ingesting large amounts of glyphosate causes metabolic acidosis and other pathophysiologic changes. Clinical signs of acute glyphosate poisoning include severe acidosis determined by low blood pH, hyperkalemia, hypernatremia, raised creatinine and blood urea levels, hypotension, hypoxemia and reduced serum bicarbonate. Severe poisoning causes dehydration, pneumonitis, oliguria, altered level of consciousness, hepatic dysfunction, pulmonary edema and dysrhythmias 1, 2, 3.

The authors go on to claim, however, that available scientific reports and records from the CDC examined and compared in their study provide overwhelming “circumstantial evidence” that ingestion of glyphosates in low doses also has serious health effects which are being overlooked in toxicology evaluations and public policy.

“How much evidence is needed?” they ask in the article.

“Taken together, this evidence suggests that glyphosate, in the doses equivalent to allowed residues in food ingested over a long period of time, causes a low-grade, chronic acidosis as well as mitochondrial dysfunction,” states the study.

They also provide evidence from the literature supporting the biochemical pathways whereby this occurs by extracting the reports for symptoms and diseases associated with glyphosate from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Adverse Event Reporting System database. These are compared to the symptoms and diseases reported in the database for drugs that are known to cause mitochondrial dysfunction. They call the results “startlingly consistent.”

Finally, they hypothesize that many modern diseases are primarily acquired mitochondrial disorders caused by chemical pesticides, pharmaceutical drugs, food additives and industrial chemicals.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

How to banish BedBugs 24/7-365?

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Spring is here and this month is all about BEDBUGS and Preparation!  WestPoint Home, WestPoint Hospitality and Bedbug Blog Report have endorsed and recommend Live Free Bedbug Pesticide Alternative Products.

The National Pest Management Association and the University of Kentucky are highlighting bedbug prevention and response in April.  WestPoint Home, WestPoint Hospitality and Bedbug Blog Report will be educating the public on Live Free powered by KiltronX Bedbug Pesticide Alternative Products.  This month KiltronX is posting discounts, BOGOS and free travel products to  all of its Friends and Followers on Facebook and Twitter.  Sign up on Bedbug Blog Report’s Twitter and KiltronX’ Facebook and Twitter to qualify.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

This month is all about bed bugs! Yes, Bed Bug Awareness Week is a real thing and WestPoint Hospitality wants to make sure you are fully prepared to deal with the fastest growing pest problem in the hospitality industry.

The National Pest Management Association created this week to highlight bedbugs, prevention and response. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the University of Kentucky released results of their “Bugs Without Borders” survey, which surveys U.S. pest professionals on the prevalence of bed bugs in Americans’ daily lives. The 2015 survey found that bed bug infestations in the United States continue at high rates, with 99.6 percent of respondents having treated for bed bugs in the past year. That number – which has been consistent for the past few years – is significantly higher than 15 years ago, when only 25 percent of pest professionals reported treating for bed bugs.

“Our survey has found that residential settings and hotels continue to be the top places where pest professionals are finding and treating for bed bugs,” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “As summer travelers eagerly visit destinations, new and familiar, it’s important to remind them that the best way to stem the spread of bed bugs is to be vigilant during and after their trip.”

Henriksen added, “Being aware of surroundings while staying in hotel rooms and utilizing public transportation, as well as carefully inspecting luggage and clothes upon return from vacation, can go a long way in ensuring bed bugs don’t follow them home.”

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

If Yale can’t stop them nobody can! The Ivy League, Yale School of Medicine, has another BEDBUG infestation in dorm.

Sixth bedbug infestation hits grad dorm

April 5, 2016 | by David Yaffe-Belany and Victor Wang | Yale Daily News

A brewing controversy over the management of a series of bedbug infestations in a medical student dorm has forced the Yale School of Medicine to relocate dozens of visitors scheduled to arrive on campus this Thursday for an admitted-students event.

Around 30 admitted students were slated to spend the medical school’s Second Look Weekend, a three-day charm offensive designed to showcase the University’s appeal, in an on-campus housing facility that has suffered numerous bedbug infestations since October. The Medical Student Council met last week with administrators to ask that students be relocated to a nearby hotel after a new infestation was discovered Thursday on the eighth floor of Harkness Hall, a 172-bedroom complex located on Cedar Street directly across from Yale-New Haven Hospital. And in a Monday night email to the residents of Harkness Hall, MSC President Carrie Flynn MED ’23 confirmed that the students would stay at a local hotel at the expense of the medical school.

“Given the developing nature of this situation, we have decided that it is best to provide our accepted students with lodging in a hotel rather than Harkness,” Flynn wrote in the email.

She added in the email that the MSC plans to meet with Yale Housing and the Office of Facilities to iron out a more effective strategy for dealing with future bedbug infestations.

The infestation reported last week — the sixth since October — prompted the MSC to meet on Friday with the medical school’s Director of Admissions Richard Silverman and Admissions Administrative Assistant Barbara Watts to make the case for moving the visitors to a hotel. According to one MSC representative, who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the topic, Silverman and Watts initially decided it would be safe to house the visiting students in Harkness, after receiving assurances from the building’s facilities superintendent, Robert Young, that the infestation was under control. Young declined to comment for this article.

But on Monday night, the admissions officers seemed to change their minds. The timing of the announcement coincided with the discovery of live bedbugs in the newly infested eighth-floor room during a follow-up inspection conducted on Monday.

“Although a careful examination of the room did not turn up any bugs, the exterminator decided to go a step further, and broke apart a plywood board that was under the mattress,” wrote Director of Graduate and Professional Student Housing George Longyear in a private email to a Harkness resident obtained by the News. “Inside the plywood board, bedbugs were found.”

In the same email, Longyear apologized for the stress the bedbug infestations have created for building residents and promised to do “everything possible to fix this situation.” Longyear did not respond to a phone call requesting comment on Monday.

The decision to relocate the visiting students to a hotel also came less than a day after News reporters contacted the medical school’s admissions department with questions about the admitted students slated to sleep in Harkness Hall.

“Admissions seemed to vacillate back and forth between taking Facilities’ word that everything was under control, versus our concerns that it isn’t,” said Kayla Isaacs MED ’19, a building resident who has closely followed the bedbug issue. “I don’t know if the impending Yale Daily News article was ultimately the reason they made this decision, but it certainly provided the situation with an extra tinge of urgency. It raised the stakes.”

Silverman and Watts did not return numerous emails and phone calls requesting comment.

Isaacs added that it would have been a public-relations “disaster” for the University to house admitted medical students in a building with a history of bedbug infestations.

“It makes no sense to take even a slight chance of having an admitted student bring bedbugs home from Yale’s Second Look,” Isaacs said. “Or to have admitted students discussing on [the online forum] Student Doctor Network the administration’s failure to protect them from unwittingly staying in a building with an ongoing bedbug problem that Admissions knew about.”

According to Harkness residents, the housing and facilities administrators’ inadequate response to previous bedbug infestations in the building raised significant doubts over whether the problem had been sufficiently contained. One resident, who said her room on the eighth floor became infested in October, complained that administrators have done a poor job communicating with residents about best practices for catching infestations.

The resident, who asked to remain anonymous because of the stigma attached to bedbugs, added that many students living in Harkness Hall feel the housing and facilities team has handled the problem with “mismanagement or even negligence.”

The resident described an incident in February in which administrators allowed a student whose room was infested to move to a different floor along with all her possessions, many of which were teeming with bedbugs. The decision to transport the belongings, which the resident described as “gross incompetence,” caused a new infestation on a different floor of the building. The student, who declined to comment on the broader bedbug issue, confirmed that her belongings carried the bedbugs to a previously uninfested floor.

“I believe Facilities is trying, but everything I’ve observed over the past few months suggests to me that they are in over their head,” the resident said. “We have been told multiple times that the problem has been resolved, only to have reports of a new room that has been affected. As far as I am concerned, if the problem is spreading, it is not under control.”

The first bedbug infestation in Harkness Hall was discovered on the eighth floor in early October. Two other rooms in the same hallway reported infestations a few days later, and a fourth was discovered in February. The fifth eighth-floor infestation was reported late last week in a different part of the same hallway that housed the first four infestations.

None of the visiting admitted students were slated to sleep on either the eighth or 10th floor of Harkness Hall. But the prospect of housing admitted students in any part of a building infested by bedbugs was apparently enough to convince the admissions office to move the visiting students.

It can be tremendously difficult to exterminate bedbugs, parasitic insects that feed on human blood and whose bites produce uncomfortable rashes. The insects, which reproduce quickly and can easily spread to adjacent rooms, thrive in bedspreads, clothing and the tiny nooks and crannies between floor and wall.

CT Pest, the pest-control company paid by the University to exterminate the bedbugs, used a heating treatment to combat the first round of infestations in October, in line with official University protocol. But the company switched to a different method to eliminate the later infestations, using the nontoxic silica dust pesticide to clear each room. Longyear confirmed in a March 2 email to a building resident that the Office of Facilities had revised its bedbug protocol after meeting with a prominent insect expert who recommended the silica dust approach.

Longyear told the same resident in an Oct. 15 email that bedbug outbreaks are generally “few and far between” at Yale.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

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.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

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