The kissing bug, otherwise known as chagas disease, a parasitic infection, is on the rise in the southern U.S., according to research conducted at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. The study looked at 17 blood donors in Texas who tested positive for the disease.
For their research, Nolan Garcia and colleagues captured around 40 kissing bugs from 11 central-southern Texas counties. About 73 percnet of the bugs were carrying the parasite and about half of the bugs had been found with human blood.
Further testing also revealed that in Texas from 2008 to 2012, one in every 6,500 donors had been exposed to the bug; that’s a rate of about 50 times greater than the rate estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What makes the disease so dangerous is that it is often discovered at times when infections are more serious. Infection can spread via blood transfusions, organ transplants and congenital transfer.
More information regarding the findings will be presented at the American Society of tropical Medicine and Hygiene Meeting in Los Angeles.