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Where is Chagas disease found in the world?

People who have Chagas disease can be found anywhere in the world. However, transmission of the disease by kissing bugs (vectorborne transmission), only occurs in the Americas. Most people with Chagas disease became infected in rural areas of Mexico, Central America, and South America.

How bad is Chagas disease?

Also called American trypanosomiasis, Chagas disease can infect anyone. Left untreated, Chagas disease later can cause serious heart and digestive problems. During the acute phase of infection, treatment of Chagas disease focuses on killing the parasite.

What disease do assassin bugs carry?

Triatomine bugs are a type of reduviid bug that can carry Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease.

Do assassin bugs have Chagas?

The kissing bug belongs to the Reduviidae family of insects. This family is also referred to as assassin bugs. But this family of bugs doesn’t get the name “assassin” because it transmits Chagas disease (also known as kissing bug disease).

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Is Chagas a African?

Trypanosomiasis is an infection caused by the Trypanosoma parasites. Trypanosomiasis can be found in Africa, commonly known as sleeping sickness, and in Central and South America where it is known as Chagas disease.

When did Chagas disease start?

Chagas disease is named after the Brazilian physician Carlos Chagas, who discovered the disease in 1909. It is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which is transmitted to animals and people by insect vectors and is found only in the Americas (mainly, in rural areas of Latin America where poverty is widespread).

How is Chagas disease detected?

The diagnosis of Chagas disease can be made by observation of the parasite in a blood smear by microscopic examination. A thick and thin blood smear are made and stained for visualization of parasites.

How long does Chagas disease last?

If untreated, infection is lifelong. Acute Chagas disease occurs immediately after infection, and can last up to a few weeks or months. During the acute phase, parasites may be found in the circulating blood. This phase of infection is usually mild or asymptomatic.

How long can you live with Chagas?

However, this symptom-free stage may only last about 10-20 years in some patients before the chronic symptoms develop in about 10%-30% of those infected. Some researchers compare the chronic phase of Chagas disease to HIV/AIDS.

What happens if an assassin bug bites you?

Some assassin bugs, most notably the wheel bug, will bite if picked up and handled carelessly. The bite of the wheel bug is immediately and intensely painful. Persons who are bitten should wash and apply antiseptic to the site of the bite. Oral analgesics, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, may be useful to reduce the pain.

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What do you do if you find a kissing bug in your house?

If you find a kissing bug, the CDC recommends you do not touch or squash it. To help understand the problem and how many carry the disease, the CDC is asking for help. They suggest you place a container on top of the kissing bug for 24 hours, and then seal the bug inside the container.

Are stink bugs the same as kissing bugs?

These bugs feed on the blood of animals and humans, and tend to bite human faces. Kissing bugs look similar to stink bugs, but stink bugs are typically smaller and lack the red, orange, or yellow stripes of color that you can see on kissing bugs.

Can kissing bugs infest your house?

Most people in the U.S. don’t need to worry about kissing bugs. They don’t usually infest houses here, though an occasional bug might get inside. If you’ve noticed them in your home or live in an area with Chagas disease, you can take steps to keep them away: Seal cracks and gaps in your home to keep bugs out.

Is Chagas disease reportable?

In 2017, Chagas disease was reportable in six states. Most cases identified, including among blood donors, are chronic cases and are not the result of local vectorborne transmission.

Can assassin bugs hurt humans?

Beneficial as they may for protecting your garden plants, these critters may attack and bite humans and animals, even if unprovoked, piercing the skin with that sharp beak. Though painful and likely to cause swelling at the site, for the most part an assassin bug bite rarely requires medical attention.

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