Bloodsucking ‘Kissing Bug’ Has Spread Over Half of the U.S.

Bloodsucking ‘Kissing Bug’ Has Spread Over Half of the U.S.

The volatile critter dubbed the ‘kissing bug’ has managed to migrate over half of the U.S., according to health officials. Mostly covering the Southern half of the country, 28 states have reported kissing-bug attacks according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The bloodsuckers typically attack the face of their victim. While the insect has been around the U.S. since the 1850s, it hasn’t been as rampant as this.

Their preference of going for the face gave them their clever alias; the actual name of the insect is the triatomine bug, which closely resembles a cockroach. The big difference between roaches is triatomine bugs carry a parasite that causes Chagas disease, which can be fatal if left untreated.

CDC spokeswoman Amy Rowland says not to worry too much – it’s rare to contract Chagas from the kissing bug, taking more than just a single bite to be at risk. She said the main way the disease is typically contracted is when the bug’s feces gets rubbed into a break in the skin, or comes in contact with the eye.

This could be a bit scary though: the traitomine bugs are usually found outdoors, but they’re known to hide under beds and mattresses as well, says the CDC.

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