Could Be Deadly
Chagas, nicknamed the “kissing bug” disease, is a parasitic infection that is spread by the bite of the “kissing” bug as well as by blood transfusions, organ transplants and through childbirth. Chagas, which until recently was limited to Mexico and Central and South America, affects 7 to 8 million people worldwide. But now, it’s showing up in the U.S. Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, say that many victims have been infected locally and not through travel outside the U.S. While the number of kissing bug cases in the U.S. is growing, physicians’ awareness of the disease is lagging. If caught early, it’s treated with drugs, but if it’s allowed to progress without treatment it may lead to serious cardiac and intestinal complications and even death.