Insect found in Texas could cause heart failure, stroke with bite

Chagas disease more common in Central, South America

SAN ANTONIO – An insect known as the “kissing bug” can be found in Texas, along with several other states, and its bite can lead to stroke and heart failure.

The insect carries a parasitic disease known as Trypanosoma cruzi, or Chagas disease, which affects both humans and dogs.

Texas has reported cases of Chagas disease along with Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Arizona and Massachusetts, according to abc13.

Kissing bugs are similar in appearance to cockroaches and feed on mammals blood.

Bites from the pests turn deadly when bugs infected with the parasite defecate into the open bite or any other open wound. 

Chagas disease is more common in Central and South America but has also been reported overseas.

Initial symptoms of the disease include fever, fatigue, body aches, headache and rash but there can also be swelling around the bite, according to abc13.

Seventy percent of affected parties never show signs or symptoms, which is one reason the disease is so problematic.

For more information about how to diagnose and treat Chagas disease, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here.

Chagas disease | Graphiq

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.