Texas home to one of the world’s deadliest insects, wants to ‘kiss’ anyone

Inhabitants of the Lone Star State include poisonous “sea dragons,” huge killer wasps, and other unsettling beasts.

The majority of them, though, aren’t quite as dangerous as one little bug that lives in Texas and is just waiting to kiss you.

Triatomine bugs, sometimes known as kissing bugs, are only interested in one thing: blood. According to researchers at Texas A&M University (TAMU), these insects sate their appetite by “kissing” a host, usually an animal or human.

The bugs often transmit a parasite known as Trypanosoma cruzi, or Chagas disease, which is a sickness that may be rather lethal, therefore their seemingly harmless “kiss” has turned out to be really harmful.

Consequently, this article will tell you all you need to know about the animal that has been dubbed as one of the “most deadly” in Texas and one of the “deadliest” in the whole globe.

Kissing Bugs

Kissing bugs are present in 29 other states than the Lone Star State, with the majority of species residing in the south.

According to scientists, there are roughly 11 distinct species of them, most of which are found in states like Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.

In fact, kissing bugs are indigenous to rural South and Central American countries.

The insects, whether they are sick or not, bite their hosts without any discomfort, but not nearly as viciously as a tick.

Typically, when they bite, they also feces (yuck!). It is at this point that the parasite enters the host’s circulation and causes the animal or person to become infected.

One in three patients who get T. cruzi develop the chronic form of Chagas disease, according to TAMU researchers. Some people experience the chronic phase for decades after the parasite enters their bodies. “The chronic phase might take many years to develop.”

According to the World Health Organization, the Americas see 30,000 instances on average every year, 14,000 of which result in fatalities.

Other Reports, Chagas Disease

Trypanosoma cruzi, a parasite that only exists in the Americas and spreads to humans and animals by insect vectors, is what causes Chagas disease (mainly, in rural areas of Latin America where poverty is widespread). Another name for Chagas disease (T. cruzi infection) is American trypanosomiasis.

Up to eight million individuals in Mexico, Central America, and South America are thought to be infected with Chagas disease, the majority of whom are unaware of their condition. Infection is permanent and sometimes fatal if left untreated.

The effects of Chagas disease are not just felt in rural parts of Latin America where infections are spread vectorially (by insects). 

Large-scale population shifts from rural to urban areas in Latin America and other parts of the world have altered the epidemiology of Chagas disease and extended its geographic dispersion. 

Control methods should concentrate on avoiding transmission via blood transfusion, organ donation, and mother-to-baby contact in the United States and other areas where Chagas disease is presently present but is not endemic (congenital transmission).