Is This Bug Our Next Big Threat?
The Coronavirus, Earthquakes, Murder Hornets... what else might 2020 bring us that we here in the Treasure Valley need to be worried about next? It might be the deadly "Kissing Bug!"
The "Kissing Bug" doesn't sound nearly as intimidating as the Murder Hornet. Still, these little bugs have the potential of killing people. They've been in southern states for years, but they have now been seen as far north as Illinois. While Chicago isn't very close to Boise, the fact is that these insects are creeping closer. They have already been located in Nevada and Utah. They may have already made their way into Idaho, but we've mistaken them for something else. They look so familiar, but the difference is in their poop!
These bugs, known scientifically as "Triatomine Bug," tend to bite your face. Those bites can sometimes swell up, but the real problem is when the bug leaves feces on you and gets rubbed into the bite or your eye. If that bug was infected with a parasite called "Trypanosoma Cruzi," it could enter your body and cause Chagas Disease, which can be fatal, although extremely rare. It is believed that 300,000 Americans have Chagas Disease, but most of them contracted it while they were living in Central America or Mexico. According to the American Heart Association, fewer than 50 people have documented cases of contracting the disease while living in the United States.
As these bugs slowly make their way North, Idahoans will need to be watching out for them, typically in places where your dog hangs out. The CDC says that they like to be under porches, between rocky structures, dog houses and chicken coops. If you think you've found one, you're supposed to capture it in a bottle and fill it with rubbing alcohol. The CDC would like for you to take it to a lab for identification as they are tracking their migration.
What's one more thing to add to the list of the craziness of 2020?