Dec 10, 2015

"Kissing Bug" Disease Identified in Florida

By on 5:19 AM

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning Floridians about Chagas disease as recent reports indicate that Triatomine bugs, which can carry the disease, have invaded the southern United States, including Florida.

Triatomine bugs, also known as the "kissing bug," carry the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi that causes Chagas disease. These bugs are found primarily in the southern United States, Mexico, Central America and South America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 8 million people are infected with Chagas disease worldwide, mainly in South and Central America.

The reason for the nickname "kissing bug" is that bites most commonly occur around the mouth and face. People primarily become infected when the fecal matter of the triatomine bug carrying Chagas enters an open wound or bite. Not all triatomine bugs are infected with Chagas disease.

CDC suggests covering cracks, screening doors and windows, and removing wood and rock piles to prevent the bugs from gathering near or in homes. People with pets should note that if the kissing bug makes its way indoors, it will usually hide near the pet's resting area.

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS), which is based in Delray Beach, Florida. Phenelle has more than 30 years experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes to implement and maintain an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission (TJC), Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies, respond to situations of noncompliance, and improve the processes for reducing risk.


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