Face-Sucking 'Kissing Bug' Found for First Time in Delaware After Girl Bitten While Watching TV - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Face-Sucking 'Kissing Bug' Found for First Time in Delaware After Girl Bitten While Watching TV

The insects inhabit areas in the United States, Mexico, Central and South America.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Face-Sucking 'Kissing Bug' Found for First Time in Delaware After Girl Bitten While Watching TV
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    An insect that can pass along a fatal disease has officially been spotted in Delaware. Triatoma sanguisuga, also known as the "kissing bug," can transmit Chagas disease and is nicknamed for biting people around their mouths.

    What to Know

    • An insect that can pass along a serious disease and is nicknamed for biting people around their mouths has made it to Delaware

    • The kissing bug has already been spotted in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

    • According to the CDC, there are approximately 300,000 people in the U.S. living with Chagas disease.

    An insect that sucked blood from the face of a Delaware girl as she watched TV in her Kent County bedroom last summer is a pest that migrated from Central America, federal health officials said.

    The incident marks the first time the bug was discovered in the state.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed arrival of Triatoma sanguisuga, otherwise known as the "kissing bug" for its propensity for biting humans around the mouth, in a report released last week. 

    In July 2018, a Kent County family reported their daughter's face was bitten by a bug late at night. The family found the bug in a window air conditioning unit, the CDC said. Unsure of what type of bug it was, they contacted state officials who in turn reached out to the CDC. 

    Testing by the federal agency led to the confirmation of the kissing bug's arrival in the First State.

    The CDC says the bug has been making its way north from South and Central America. It has already been spotted in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

    It is usually found indoors — in cracks or holes — or outdoors in concrete, under tree bark, and in dog houses.

    The bloodsucking bug's bite is often painless, but it can spread Chagas disease as the bug's infected feces flows into the open wound.

    Chagas disease is known for causing serious cardiac and gastrointestinal complications. According to the CDC, there are approximately 300,000 people in the U.S. living with the disease. However, only a few of the cases are directly related to the kissing bug.