The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Deadly Kissing Bug Spreads to Delaware, CDC Confirms
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that the kissing bug, which can transmit a potentially deadly parasite, has spread to Delaware, ABC News reported Wednesday.
The CDC had warned in September of last year that the bug was spreading north from South and Central America, and had already been sighted in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, The Delaware News Journal reported. But the agency confirmed last week that a bug that bit a child's face in Kent, Delaware in July 2018 was indeed a kissing bug.
Kissing bugs earned their name for their habit of biting people on their face, according to the World Health Organization. They are also called triatomine bugs, a range of species that can carry the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease, the CDC explains. Chagas can lead to stroke or heart failure, though most people who are infected experience no symptoms. Initial symptoms can include fever, fatigue, aches, headache, rash and swelling at the site of transmission, according to ABC News.
A variety of triatomine bugs at different stages of development.
There are currently 300,000 people in the U.S. and 8 million people in Central and South America living with the disease. Most of those living in the U.S. with the disease were infected while visiting Latin America,The Delaware News Journal reported. However, researchers have predicted U.S. infections could increase with climate change.
"We know the bugs are already across the bottom two-thirds of the U.S., so the bugs are here, the parasites are here. Very likely with climate change they will shift further north and the range of some species will extend," Loyola University Chagas disease specialist Patricia Dorn said in a 2012 University of Vermont press release reported by ScienceDaily.
Delaware is one of the northernmost states in which the bug has been documented, The Miami Herald reported.
A map showing the U.S. range of kissing bugs.
The bug's presence was confirmed in Delaware after a family sought the help of the Delaware Division of Public Health and the Delaware Department of Agriculture to identify an insect that had bitten their daughter while she was watching TV in her bedroom, ABC News reported. The family had not left the area before the incident, and the girl had an air-conditioning unit in her window. The girl's health was not impacted by the bite.
The CDC recommends that people protect themselves from kissing bugs by sealing cracks leading into the home, keeping yard lights away from the house, as they can attract bugs, having pets sleep indoors at night, removing brush or rock piles near the home, using screens on windows and keeping the home and outdoor pet areas clean.
If you find a bug you think is a kissing bug, place it, unsquashed, in a container and take it to a health department or university for identification. Clean any areas it might have touched with one-part bleach to nine-parts water.
- 'Kissing bug' bites Delaware girl, CDC confirms ›
- Blood-Sucking Kissing Bug Can Cause a Deadly Illness - Health ›
- Case of blood-sucking 'kissing bug' confirmed in Delaware: CDC ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
World hunger is on the rise for the third consecutive year after decades of decline, a new United Nations (UN) report says. The climate crisis ranks alongside conflict as the top cause of food shortages that force more than 821 million people worldwide to experience chronic hunger. That number includes more than 150 million children whose growth is stunted due to a lack of food.
By Adrienne L. Hollis
Because extreme heat is one of the deadliest weather hazards we currently face, Union of Concerned Scientist's Killer Heat Report for the U.S. is the most important document I have read. It is a veritable wake up call for all of us. It is timely, eye-opening, transparent and factual and it deals with the stark reality of our future if we do not make changes quickly (think yesterday). It is important to ensure that we all understand it. Here are 10 terms that really help drive home the messages in the heat report and help us understand the ramifications of inaction.
Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Senate Republican who has been a close ally of Donald Trump, did not mince words last week on the climate crisis and what he thinks the president needs to do about it.
By Marlene Cimons
Kyle Rosenblad was hiking a steep mountain on the island of Maui in the summer of 2015 when he noticed a ruggedly beautiful tree species scattered around the landscape. Curious, and wondering what they were, he took some photographs and showed them to a friend. They were Bermuda cedars, a species native to the island of Bermuda, first planted on Maui in the early 1900s.
By Grace Francese
You may know that many conventional oat cereals contain troubling amounts of the carcinogenic pesticide glyphosate. But another toxic pesticide may be contaminating your kids' breakfast. A new study by the Organic Center shows that almost 60 percent of the non-organic milk sampled contains residues of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide scientists say is unsafe at any concentration.