In Mexico and South America, the “kissing bug” transmits the Chagas disease which can be fatal and accounts for approximately 21,000 deaths annually.
Fortunately, the kissing bug doesn’t seem to like flying North of the border… except for Arizona.
Unfortunately, the kissing bug, like mosquitoes, suck blood.
Fortunately, the Arizona variety doesn’t seem to have inherited its southern cousin’s nasty habit of defecating on the incision he has just made when he sucked blood. That’s how Chagas disease infects. The person who has been bitten wakes up and scratches the spot, infecting the blood and contracting the disease. Apparently, our Arizona variety prefers to eat and then go elsewhere to defecate.
Arizona residents aren’t out of the woods yet though because repeated bites from this insect most often cause the victim to develop a reaction. The first bite isn’t a big deal but by the third or fourth one, the victim can end up in the hospital.
Authority suggest protecting against the insects by keeping doors and windows closed after sunset, having screens and replacing all outdoor lights with lights that do not attract flying bugs.
It’s especially important to avoid being bitten again once a kissing bug has “kissed” you.