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Watching out for the blood-sucking ‘kissing bug’ in Louisiana – WAFB



Kevin Foster|April 28, 2019 at 9:06 PM CDT – Up to date April 28 at 9:52 PM

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) – The notorious chew of the “kissing bug,” identified for passing alongside the possibly deadly Chagas illness, is the main focus of a Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention alert issued after investigators realized in April of 2019 {that a} younger lady was bitten by one on the face in July of 2018 in Delaware.

Louisiana has confirmed 13 Chagas illness infections within the state’s historical past. Twelve of these instances had been asymptomatic. Solely eight had been confirmed to have been acquired in Louisiana, whereas the others might have solely been identified within the state however acquired abroad or in one other state.

Circumstances had been documented within the following parishes:

  • Acadia Parish
  • Ascension Parish
  • Caddo Parish
  • Iberia Parish
  • Jefferson Parish
  • Lafayette Parish
  • Level Coupee Parish
  • St. Charles Parish
  • St Landry Parish
  • St. Martin Parish
  • Terrebone Parish

Whereas the concept of a stealthy bug actually spreading the kiss of loss of life would be the factor of nightmares, specialists say it’s the bug’s feeding course of that’s extra worrisome than its chew. Because the bug feeds on blood, it defecates and spreads parasites by its feces. Transmission often happens when the feces is unwittingly rubbed into the itchy chew wounds by an unsuspecting sufferer.

Julius L. Tonzel, a vector-borne ailments epidemiologist with the Louisiana Division of Well being, famous the probability of an infection within the U.S. is low – there’s round a 1 in 400 probability of being uncovered. Nonetheless, he nonetheless supplied data that may assist Louisiana residents decrease the prospect of publicity.


  • Triatomine bugs (Kissing bugs)
  • Congenital transmission
  • Blood transfusions
  • Organ transplantation
  • Consuming undercooked meals


  • Use mattress nets handled with long-lasting pesticides
  • Put on protecting clothes
  • Apply insect repellent to uncovered pores and skin
  • Pay attention to blood borne and meals borne transmission
  • Seal cracks and gaps round home windows, partitions, roofs, and doorways
  • Use screens on doorways and home windows
  • Restore holes or tears
  • Hold dwelling areas and out of doors pet resting areas clear
  • The CDC recommends finding out of doors lights away from houses, canine kennels and hen coops and turning off lights when not in use
  • Surfaces that come into contact with the insect also needs to be totally cleaned.


  • Use gloves or a plastic bag to position it in a Ziploc bag
  • Take an image of the bug and make contact with LDH

You possibly can learn the Louisiana Workplace of Public Well being’s full timeline of Chagas infections within the state beneath.


  • In July of 2006, officers documented the primary human case of insect-transmitted Chagas parasite in Louisiana. The invention marked the sixth ever affirmation within the U.S. Interviewers mentioned a pest management operator discovered kissing bugs whereas aiding residents. Two residents had been examined for Chagas, one among which examined constructive for the antibodies to the Chagas parasite.
  • One case was reported in a resident of St. Martin Parish. This resident reported no vital potential exposures outdoors the U.S., however did report a historical past of leisure tenting.
  • One other case was a resident of Lafayette Parish who couldn’t be contacted for an interview.
  • A resident in Saint Charles Parish that was born in Central America was identified by way of blood donation screening. Interviewers famous the resident talked about having surgical procedure below her arm beforehand.
  • One case, a resident dwelling within the Opelousas space, famous a historical past of leisure tenting within the state. The contaminated particular person famous to investigators they suffered an insect chew with subsequent swelling the subsequent morning. This case was identified by way of blood donation screening.
  • The second case was an Acadia Parish resident.
  • A Mexican immigrant dwelling within the Terrebonne Parish was identified by way of blood donation screening.
  • A resident of the Pointe Coupee space had spent a while outdoor and in a cabin within the woods and later suffered an asymptomatic an infection.
  • The second asymptomatic case, an Iberia Parish resident, had no historical past of worldwide journey, however instructed interviewers they spent a substantial period of time tenting. This case was additionally detected after a blood donation.
  • An immigrant development employee from Mexico dwelling within the Jefferson Parish space suffered cardiac arrest, fever, confusion, leukocytosis, thrombocytopenia, and was below the care and supervision of a heart specialist.
  • An asymptomatic particular person grew to become contaminated by an organ transplant. The organ donor had beforehand lived in Central America.
  • An asymptomatic particular person from Caddo parish was identified.
  • Bugs identified to hold the illness had been discovered close to a house in Ascension Parish. A resident instructed interviewers he had not traveled outdoors of the nation across the time the an infection was found, however had visited South America a number of years prior. He was recognized by a blood donation screening check. Confirmatory testing was not carried out till 2018.

Copyright 2019 WAFB. All rights reserved.

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