Dangerous Kissing Bug in Louisiana Can Carry This Deadly Disease
I went out into the deep country this weekend. It doesn't matter how much mosquito and bug repellent I bathed myself in, I was bit by every bug under the moon mercilessly. My legs look like I went through the Amazon and the best way to describe it is I feel like I just failed miserably on an episode of "Naked and Afraid" Louisiana edition.
I had never seen horsefly in person until this past weekend. I heard about everything I needed to watch out for, from snakes to bugs. The one warning that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up was a bug. What made me freak out? It's called the kissing bug. I thought at first I misunderstood, turns out there is a big difference between love bugs and kissing bugs. One bug will give you the kiss of death.
According to my tour guide of everything country this weekend, kissing bugs come out at night. J&J's Exterminating website confirmed this. So why should we all be worried about kissing bugs? In short, Chagas Disease.
What is Chagas disease? Well, it has a few different names, it is also called American trypanosomiasis. In simple terms, it's a tropical parasitic disease that you and I can contract when a kissing bug bites us.
According to the CDC, Chagas disease may cause:
"Heart rhythm abnormalities that can cause sudden death"
"A dilated heart that doesn’t pump blood well"
"A dilated esophagus or colon, leading to difficulties with eating or passing stool"
If you think it's not that big of a deal and that it mainly happens in South America think again. Louisiana sees the most cases of Chagas Disease. This isn't good at all. J&J Exterminating's website claims "While 13 disease-spreading kissing bugs can be found in the lower half of the US, only one kissing bug species can be found in Louisiana, Triatoma sanguisuga. Although other southern states are home to as many as seven kissing bug species, Louisiana sees a disproportionate number of Chagas disease cases."