CDC Confirms Blood-sucking ‘Kissing Bug’ Was Found in Delaware

Triatomines, commonly known as the "kissing bug," could possibly be in Delaware, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials say. (Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Triatomines, commonly known as the “kissing bug,” could possibly be in Delaware, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials say. (Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

The “kissing bug” — which bites people around their mouths and can pass along the fatal disease Chagas — has officially made it to Delaware. 

In September, the Centers for Disease Control foreshadowed the deadly bloodsucker’s arrival here. The government agency warned that it was making its way north from Central and South America and had been reported in states such as Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

But it wasn’t until last week that the CDC confirmed an actual sighting in the First State.

Here’s where the bug was spotted and why the species can be so dangerous

Bug found in Kent County

In July 2018, a family from Kent County called the Delaware Division of Public Health and Delaware Department of Agriculture because an insect had bitten their child’s face while she was watching TV in her bedroom.

The family lived in an older single-family home near a heavily wooded area, according to a CDC report. There was an air conditioner in the window of the girl’s bedroom and the family hadn’t traveled anywhere outside the local area.

Staff from the ag department preliminarily identified the insect as Triatoma sanguisuga, or the kissing bug.

They sent pictures of the insect to the Texas A&M University’s Kissing Bug Citizen Science Program, a multidisciplinary research program aimed at documenting and collecting kissing bugs from across the United States.

The insect was also sent to the CDC, which did tests and confirmed their findings.

The girl who was bitten did not get sick, though the bugs can carry a deadly disease known as Chagas.

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SOURCE:  Jessica Bies, Delaware News Journal