Have you ever heard of the kissing bug? Well, unfortunately it’s not a bug that causes people to be extra hungry for lip-on-lip action. Rather, it’s a very dangerous insect that is spreading virtually unseen disease throughout the US. Right now, it’s estimated that about 300,000 in the US are infected with what’s called the Chagas parasite. The Chagas parasite is carried in the fecal matter of the kissing bug, and is spread when the kissing takes little nips out of your face and/or lips while you’re sleeping.
If this doesn’t terrify you into sleeping with one eye open, I don’t know what will. But there’s more to the story. Humans aren’t the only ones that are vulnerable to this parasite (which damages heart tissue and the digestive tract); dogs are very vulnerable too. Humans and dogs are able to give each other the Chagas parasite through a common kissing bug.
Right now there are so cures for it. There are ways to hinder its spread and treat some of the symptoms, but as of now the parasite will remain in your tissue and never leave. The only remotely positive thing about this disease is that it for some reason only flares up in about a third of all people who carry the Chagas parasite. Meaning, if you have the Chagas, you have a two-thirds chance that you won’t have any symptoms and probably won’t even realize you have it.
Kissing bugs are very common in the South in states like Texas, and right now, more and more dogs in Texas are showing up with the Chagas parasite in their system. Several dogs have lost their lives to the Chagas parasite, even some of the “smartest” dog breeds out there are not an exception to Chagas. Furthermore, even hypoallergenic dogs are susceptible to kissing bugs.
But southern US households aren’t the only ones that have a problem with the kissing bug. South and Central American countries have had the same issues as kissing bugs are much more common there. Kissing bugs like to live in the roofs of mud homes and bite the residents while they’re sleeping. Households with dogs will increase their chances of getting the Chagas parasite. Right now it’s being said that dogs are helping spread the Chagas parasite more so than the kissing bugs themselves.