Kissing bug in Wichita Falls tests positive for parasite that causes Chagas disease

Kissing bugs test positive for parasite in Wichita Falls

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - The city of Wichita Falls announced Monday a kissing bug, known as a Triatomine insect, has tested positive for a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease.

While it’s not new to the area, the recorded presence of Chagas disease in Wichita County is rare.

Kissing bugs may be attracted to lights at night which could cause them to enter a home.

Wichita County officials say a single kissing bug is not necessarily cause for alarm but they are able to infest human and animal bedding and breed.

A sign that a breeding population may have formed nearby is the presence of nymphs or immature kissing bugs in a home. At that point, a licensed pest control company may need to be contacted.

The Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District recommends implementing the following practices:

  1. Don’t open windows that are not screened or that have torn screens, especially towards nighttime. Kissing bugs are winged insects and can enter the home through unscreened windows
  2. Avoid accidental bites by wearing long sleeves, pants and gloves when working outdoors in brush piles
  3. Do not attempt to handle bugs barehanded, a glove or plastic bag should be used if you wish to catch the bug and submit for testing. Sanitize any surface that the bug may have touched as the disease is transmitted through their feces

A kissing bug may be sent to the Texas A&M University Kissing Bug Citizen Science Program if you find a one outside of the home and it is not suspected to have bit anyone.

A kissing bug may be sent to the Texas Department of State Health Service if you find a one within your home or it is suspected of having bitten someone

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