Health officials: Deadly ‘kissing bug’ reported in Georgia

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ATLANTA (AP) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a deadly insect known as the “kissing bug” has made its way to Georgia.

Triatomine Bug Occurrence by State (Courtesy: CDC.gov)

Triatomine Bug Occurrence by State (Courtesy: CDC.gov)

The CDC says there have been sightings of the bug, also known as the triatomine bug, in some southern states. It’s unclear when, where or how many of the bugs have been reported. The bugs feed on the blood of mammals, including humans, and may carry a parasite that causes Chagas disease — which the CDC says can be fatal if left untreated.

The CDC says residents should double check around their homes for cracks and holes because the bug tends to hide under beds and mattresses.

I think I found a triatomine bug. What should I do?

The following information is from the CDC Website:

Please do not touch or squash the bug. Place a container on top of the bug, slide the bug inside, and fill it with rubbing alcohol or, if not available, freeze the bug in the container. Then, you may take it to your local extension service, health department, or a university laboratory for species identification. In the event that none of these resources is available in your area, you may contact CDC’s Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria (parasites@cdc.gov) for species identification or T. cruzi testing.

Any material containing bug parts or feces should also be submitted for testing, preferably in a plastic bag or clean sealable container. Surfaces that have come into contact with the bug should be cleaned with a solution made of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water (or 7 parts ethanol to 3 parts water)

More information about the triatomine bug and precautions can be found on the CDC website.