Kissing Bugs in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the “Kissing Bug” has been found in nearly 30 states. So what does this mean to us? The “Kissing Bug,” also known as the triatomine bug, is about the size of a penny, however has the ability to potentially be dangerous to us humans. Most of these bugs “attack” (bite) at night and suck blood around people’s mouths, eyes and other parts of the face… hence where the name the “Kissing Bug” has come from
Despite the bug being found in nearly 30 states, according to Stan Mills, a program manager at the Cabell-Huntington Health Department, says you most likely wont come in contact with one of these bugs.
The concern is that some of these bugs carry a parasite that can cause Chagas Disease, a potentially fatal disease. In order to get the disease, if the bug is infected, you would have to somehow ingest its feces. Contracting this disease from the bug, according to Mills and the CDC is difficult and unlikely. You are more likely to get the West Nile virus from a mosquito.
Because of poor sanitation, Mills said the bug is usually found near low-income housing. Here they like to live in the cracks and crevices of the housing.
If you find one of these bugs, follow the CDC’s instructions:
- Do not touch of smash the bug (in case of infection)
- Trap the bug in a container
- Freeze the bug for 24 hours in the container
- Take the bug to your local extension service, a university laboratory, or your local health department
- You can even call the Cabell-Huntington Health Department and they will pick up the bug from your house
In order to best avoid the bug, make sure you seal crack and holes in your home and allow your pets to sleep inside, especially at night.