An insect known to carry a parasite behind the potentially serious Chagas disease has been confirmed in Delaware for the first time.
Chagas disease, which can lead to heart failure and severe gastrointestinal complications in extreme cases, is transmitted by the insect Triatoma sanguisuga, which typically bites people on the face.This tendency has earned them the nickname ‘kissing bugs.’
Following reports of a possible kissing bug bite in Kent County last summer, when a child was bitten on the face while watching TV, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted its own investigation and has now confirmed the suspicions.
In this case, the CDC says the insect was not carrying the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite, which leads to Chagas disease, and the child did not get ill from the bite.
The bug was first tentatively identified by staff members at the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA), who were called in for assistance by the bitten child’s parents in July 2018.
It was later sent to the CDC, where it was subjected to more thorough analysis.‘This finding represents the first confirmed identification of T. sanguisuga in Delaware,’ according to the CDC.
‘Texas A&M had received a previous report of a suspected kissing bug in July 2017 from Kent County, Delaware.