An alarming new report published PLOS Negelcted Tropical Diseases suggests that a certain disease is far deadlier than we realized.
Authorities have issued a significant warning about the “kissing bug,” issuing a new report that suggests that these bugs may be far more dangerous than we once thought. The bugs, which are named for their tendency to bite humans near the lips and on the face as they sleep, leaving feces in the wound, may be transmitting an infectious parasite called Trypanasoma cruzi that is far more deadly than initially realized.
The parasite slips into the bloodstream and can cause what is known as Chagas disease, or trypanosomiasis, which for many people is mild or asymptomatic. However, it can occasionally be deadly, and a the new study says we may be underreporting deaths from the disease significantly.
The journal PLOS Negelcted Tropical Diseases published the study, which demonstrates that the risk of death is doubled or even tripled for those who have Chagas, and it didn’t matter which age group the patient was in.
“Chagas disease, affecting millions of people in Central and South America, is classified as one of the 17 most important neglected diseases by the World Health Organization,” the statement from PLOS reads. “Now, researchers have found that even the non-symptomatic stage of Chagas infection, which can last for many years, more than doubles a person’s risk of death. The new study, published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, also concludes that deaths from Chagas have likely been under-reported in the past.
“Chagas disease is an insect-borne parasitic disease caused by Trypanosoma cruzi. A bite from an infected Triatominae, or kissing bug, can cause initial swelling, fever, and headaches but symptoms generally fade away after a few months. Infected people can then live for decades with no more signs of the disease, during which time clinicians have assumed they have no increased mortality. Years later, it’s known that cardiac, neurological, and digestive symptoms of Chagas can reemerge.”