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Insect-Borne Chagas Disease Becoming More Prevalent in the US

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  • Chagas disease is spread by triatomines infected with Trypanosoma cruzi, a parasite that lives in the bug’s digestive system. Between 50 and 64 percent of triatomines tested are infected with this parasite
  • Chagas infection is contracted through a bite from a triatomine, a nocturnal insect that crawls around on your face while you’re sleeping. It will typically bite around the lips or eyes — hence the nickname “kissing bug”
  • An estimated 300,000 Americans have Chagas, including 40,000 pregnant women, and prevalence is on the rise. In South and Central America — where Chagas disease is most prevalent — an estimated 12 million people are infected
  • While Chagas is not transmissible via person-to-person contact, you can contract it via blood transfusion, organ transplantation and/or eating food in which the insect has defecated. An infected mother can also transmit Chagas to her unborn child
  • One-third of those infected are at risk of developing chronic Chagas disease, which can trigger cardiac and intestinal complications years or decades after the initial infection

By Dr. Mercola

Triatomines, affectionately known as “kissing bugs,” have made headlines lately. According to U.S. health officials, disease caused by these insects is on the rise, and in the long term can be quite serious. Known as Chagas disease, the infection is contracted through a bite from a triatomine, a nocturnal insect that crawls around on your face while you’re sleeping.


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