Texas residents need to be a little more careful about their health after recent reports of a new threat that will have even the most courageous cowboy trembling in their boots. Despite having a very friendly name, “kissing bugs” are no fun at all, causing an infection that could potentially kill you – and they have been popping up in counties all over the lone star state.
Kissing bugs get their name because they like to bit human faces and especially lips, typically only at night while they are sleeping. They leave behind a parasite that causes Chagas disease, a condition that has historically only been seen in the tropics but now is spreading like wildfire across Texas.
Chagas disease is hard to detect, shows a variety of symptoms and can be potentially deadly. At first, it seems like those who are infected are just suffering from a mild case of the flu. This transitions into a second, far more painful phase that inflicts up to 30% with heart issues and 10% with gastrointestinal distress.
The CDC has no approved treatment for the disease, only experimental drugs that are at best 85% effective – and even then, only when taken right after the infection takes hold. According to KXAS, the rise in infections is not due to an increased population of kissing bugs. Rather, the suburbs around Texas are simply expanding onto their land.
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