Most bugs are harmless. Even many spiders, no matter how frightening, cannot hurt a human being. However, one bug is more than just a pest for people living in Texas. They’re called “kissing bugs,” which sounds friendly enough. But they’re also known by another name: “The Assassin Bug.”
The Assassin bug can cause the spread of a highly dangerous disease called American Trypanosomiasis, or “Chagas Disease.”
Hundreds of dogs have died from a rare parasitic disease known as Chagas and in Texas alone, roughly 400 dogs have died from the disease.
Chagas disease is caused by a parasite known as Trypanosoma Cruzi. The parasite is carried by the “Kissing Bug” and is spread by the feces of the bugs. The Kissing Bug feeds on blood usually around the eyes and mouth of a pet while they are sleeping.
Transmission occurs when fecal material gets rubbed into the bite wound or into a mucous membrane. Dogs also can contract the disease by eating the bugs.
Chagas disease is known as the “silent killer” because people and pets who have it don’t know they have the disease until its later stages, after it attacks the heart muscles and eventually causes heart failure, by which stage it is too late for treatment.
Symptoms of this disease usually occur after a bite from an “Assassin Bug,” and include massive swelling of the eyelids, and even anaphylactic shock, which can cause asphyxiation and eventually death. At first, the disease symptoms might be as mild as the first symptoms of the flu.
But eventually, they will become more severe and more painful. If you think that your child or dog may have contracted Chagas disease due to a bite from an Assassin bug, take them to the hospital immediately.
These kissing bugs live under porches, in cracks between walls, under rocks, under cement, in forested areas, or in outdoor dog houses or chicken coups.
Their presence has been reported in every southern state in America, and most Midwestern states. They are highly dangerous, andoften bite unsuspecting children who play by wooded areas.