Possible kissing bug found in South Bend
South Bend, Ind. - In the last month, the CDC has issued a warning saying that the Triatomina or “Kissing bug” can be found in Indiana. Although it prefers hotter climates, the bug seems to be crawling its way north. Now according to one family, they might be in South Bend.
Don’t let the name fool you, these bugs could be dangerous. The kissing bug gets its name because it comes and bites you at night while you are sleeping and specifically around your mouth and face. But it’s not the just the bites that are worrisome.
Rima Bell was home by herself when she saw the bug.
“I came downstairs and I looked inside the chip bag because I was hungry and wanted a snack and everything and then I saw a bug but I wasn’t sure if it was a kissing bug yet,” Bell said.
When she realized it was a kissing bug she ran out of the house. The family made sure to check themselves for bites but thankfully didn’t find any.
“I mean I checked my arms, looked in the mirror everywhere,” Rima Bells twin brother Siva said.
They also checked the house, inside and out. Kissing bugs carry the parasite that causes Chagas’ disease which can cause acute and chronic illnesses that can lead to heart problems. Dogs and cats can become infected by bites, as well.
Doctor Luis Galup with the St. Joseph County Health Department said it’s hard to get infected.
“What they do is they bite you and then they deposit feces and if you are careful and you don’t get any of the bites with the feces, you may not get it at all,” Galup said.
You might not know this, but several insects in the kissing bug family are native to Indiana.
I spoke to Catherine Craker, an adjunct professor of biology at Holy Cross College. She told me that this bug is definitely in the family but would need to inspect it to see if it is really the kissing bug that carries the disease.
She also said that if you see a kissing bug in your home, you should not touch or squash it and instead put it in a container filled with rubbing alcohol or freeze the bug in the container. Then take it to your local health department.