Navigation Links
Insects Behind Chagas Disease Are Feeding on Humans in the U.S.
Date:3/20/2012

TUESDAY, March 20 (HealthDay News) -- Insects that are part of a family of bugs that transmit Chagas disease are well-established and feeding on human blood in certain regions of the United States, a new study finds.

What remains a mystery, however, is why the insects infect millions in Central and South America with Chagas disease, a serious condition that can lead to life-threatening digestive and heart problems, yet few such cases have been documented in the United States.

So far, researchers have documented only seven cases of Chagas in the United States.

"The basic message is that the bug is out there, it's feeding on humans, and it carries the parasite, so there may be greater potential for humans to have the disease in the United States than previously thought," Lori Stevens, a biologist at the University of Vermont, said in a university news release. "Very likely, with climate change they will shift further north and the range of some species will extend."

In the study, which was published online March 14 in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, researchers collected specimens from the Reduviid family of insects in Arizona and California.

About 38 percent of the black, wingless insects, also known as "kissing bugs" because they bite sleeping humans around the mouth, contained human blood. Researchers said this was an unexpected finding because the 11 species of kissing bugs found in the United States were not known to feed on people.

More than half of the insects contained Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease.

Researchers speculate that the prevalence of the disease could be greater than previously thought.

"We think the actual transmission is higher than the seven cases we have identified," study co-author Patricia Dorn, an expert on Chagas disease at Loyola University in New Orleans, said in the news release. "But even with these findings, we think the transmission of Chagas -- of the T. cruzi parasite -- is still very low in the U.S."

The initial symptoms of Chagas disease can be vague, including fever and swelling around one eye and at the site of the bug bite. The disease can go into remission and reemerge years later as a more serious illness, resulting in potentially deadly digestive and heart problems.

The bug's saliva also can lead to severe allergic reactions.

Researchers theorized the bug hasn't become more widespread in the United States because most homes in the country are made with concrete basements, screened doors and windows, and tighter construction. In contrast, kissing bugs have thrived among the thatched roofs, stick-and-mud construction and dirt floors found in rural and poor regions of Central and South America.

Another theory is that unlike the kissing bugs found in other countries, the species found in the United States do not defecate while they are feeding on their host. As a result, there is less opportunity for the parasite that causes Chagas disease to enter the bloodstream.

One way to prevent the spread of Chagas disease is to use screens or close windows at night. Campers should close their tents or sleeping bags.

The study's authors said they hoped to examine a larger sample of kissing bugs from more areas in the United States.

"Chagas isn't going to spread fast, but it could spread," Stevens said. "Finding out how prevalent it is now would be a good idea."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more information on Chagas disease.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: University of Vermont, news release, March 15, 2012


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Insects are scared to death of fish
2. Insects that deter predators produce fewer offspring
3. How pest insects might adapt to climate change, affecting agriculture and health
4. Diet of contaminated insects harms endangered meat-eating plants
5. A culprit behind brain tumor resistance to therapy
6. Researchers ID gene behind primary cervical dystonia, a neck-twisting disorder
7. Researchers Spot Genes Behind Macular Degeneration
8. Study Finds Gene Behind Inherited Cases of Enlarged Heart
9. U.S. Doctors Behind Face Transplants Give Details of Procedure
10. Advantages and motivations uncertain behind use of brachytherapy for breast cancer radiotherapy
11. Supercomputer reveals new details behind drug-processing protein model
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Insects Behind Chagas Disease Are Feeding on Humans in the U.S.
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, whether it’s a ... the bar too high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. However, those who ... , Research from PsychTests.com reveals that behind the tendency to set ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone to extreme ... “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If there was ... other children and say he was going to kill them. If we were driving ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of ... Cancer Society and the Road To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and ... other adults to ensure the highest quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Haute Beauty Network, affiliated ... Weintraub as a prominent plastic surgeon and the network’s newest partner. , ... most handsome men, look naturally attractive. Plastic surgery should be invisible.” He stands ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Venture Construction Group (VCG) sponsors Luke’s ... June 20th at the Woodmont Country Club at 1201 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland, 20852. ... helping service members that have been wounded in battle and their families. Venture Construction ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... DUBLIN , June 23, 2016 ... "Key Pharma News Issue 52" report to their offering. ... need in influenza treatment creates a favourable commercial environment for ... and growing patient base that will serve to drive considerable ... flu vaccine would serve to cap sales considerably, but development ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  Astellas today announced the establishment of Astellas Farma Colombia (AFC), a new affiliate with operations headquartered in ... . ... ... ... Astellas ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has ... Global Analysis (United States, China, Japan, Brazil, United Kingdom, ... their offering. Surgical ... business planners, provides surgical procedure volume data in a ... an in-depth analysis of growth drivers and inhibitors, including ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: