The “Kissing Bug”–doesn’t that sound so cute? Like an adorable ladybug with long fluttery eyelashes, a girlish giggle, and big red lips?
Mmm…not exactly. In fact, kind of the opposite.
The “Kissing Bug” is actually a nocturnal blood-sucking (and face-sucking, hence the name) bug that is responsible for the transmittal of T. cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas Disease.
Maybe you’ve heard of Chagas Disease in relation to blood donation. People with the disease cannot donate blood because the parasite lives in the blood stream. The Red Cross knows that if we’re not careful, Chagas could be passed through blood transfusions. For this reason, all donated blood is thoroughly tested for the disease. If Chagas is detected, the blood is immediately destroyed.
Anyway, if you live in Oregon like I do, you don’t have to worry about the Kissing Bug sneaking in a smooch while you’re asleep. The bug is mostly found in rural parts of the Americas.
Photo courtesy of Innovations Report