‘Kissing Bug’ Disease Infects over 300,000 People in the US

Alexandra Klausner, Daily Mail, November 9, 2014

Over 300,000 Americans have already been infected with the potentially fatal ‘kissing bug disease’ called Chagas but U.S. healthcare workers lack of knowledge about the illness is letting many cases of the parasite unnoticed. Some doctors are calling it the ‘new AIDS’ because of the way it develops.

Researchers who gathered on Tuesday at the annual American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene meeting in New Orleans said that if caught early the disease can be cured however sometimes the disease can be asymptomatic and there is a dearth in medication for the condition.

The CDC reports that the initial symptoms of the disease caused by a parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, which is spread through the feces of kissing bugs includes fever, fatigue, body aches, rash, diarrhea and vomiting. One of the first visual signs can be a skin lesion or a purplish swelling of the lid of one eye.

The disease can develop in the body causing eventual heart failure and other deadly complications that by the time they are realized cannot be helped with medicine.

Chagas is being called the new AIDS because of its asymptomatic beginnings that can turn to a fatal end if the disease progresses.

‘We were astonished to not only find such a high rate of individuals testing positive for Chagas in their blood, but also high rates of heart disease that appear to be Chagas-related,’ said Nolan Garcia, an epidemiologist at the Baylor College of Medicine.

The CDC has said that they believe most of the people infected with Chagas got the parasite in Mexico or South America before coming to the U.S.

The Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved two medicines called nifurtimox and benznidazole that are currently used to treat.

The medications also put people at risk for the disease nerve damage, nausea and weight loss, reports Al Jazeera.

The CDC only makes the drugs available when no alternatives exist.

‘The disease can be fatal if not treated,’ said Melissa Nolan Garcia, a research associate at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and co-author of a separate study on Chagas disease in Texas published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene on Tuesday.

‘You are normally asymptomatic until disease has progressed at which time treatment is not helpful. We call this the silent disease,’ Garcia said.

‘The concerning thing is that majority of the patients [I spoke to] are going to physicians, and the physicians are telling them, ‘No you don’t have the disease,’ she said.

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  • DaveMed

    Ah, yes. The reduviid bug.

    This is supposed to be a South American disease.

    When we learned about this in the second year of med school, the clinical correlation mentioned was to ask patients whether they have lived in or recently been to South America.

    Ain’t it grand? Our pathogens have been culturally enriched!

    • Keep Honkin, I’m Reloading

      My neighbor across the street had 2 of his dog die of this last year.

      Both literally fell over dead, he was so shocked at the first one, he had a local veterinary university perform an autopsy.

    • propagandaoftruth

      Oh man, just put it together regarding your name, Dave.
      I just registered it as a pure play on the “club Med” thing, like maybe you were one of those guys who may have worn “members only” jackets back in the day but…
      The medical thing never occurred to me. I had stomach fungus in Costa Rica from putting a cat’s head in my mouth after too much guaro with the in-laws. It was pretty horrible – the cat had been killing and eating sewer rats, not unlike several of the Chinese restaurants nearby except they were serving it. Yuk. The doc gave me some pills that cleared it up and told me I was lucky it didn’t go to my brain. Was he joking?
      Regardless, you’re a doctor, I’m a hypochondriac, always enjoy your posts, nice to finally really meet you.
      By the way, doc, I got this itch…um…

      • DaveMed

        Topical terbinafine or ketoconazole, haha.

        Was the stomach fungus Candida? Or Cryptococcus?

        *Almost a doctor – currently a medical student.

        • propagandaoftruth

          No idea. Been a while. Green.

  • Chagas and TB and Enterovirus D68, oh my!

    • Michael Whalen

      And, say hey, and by the way … let’s not forget …. everybody’s all time favorite, right out of the OLD TESTAMENT……(Wait for It!) …. LEPROSY!!!!!

  • dd121

    I thought our leaders took an oath to protect us.

    • Alexandra1973

      They had their fingers crossed.

    • phillyguy

      they are just protecting their own pockets , they do not give a s**t about us.

    • Pathfinder75

      Our political “leaders” excel at breaking oaths,not keeping them. We should have learned by now to never take a politician at their word (unless he’s a man of unimpeachable integrity and virtue,like Sen.Jeff Sessions).It is always wise to judge a politician by their actions,not their vacuous “promises”.

  • Alexandra1973

    I’ve also been hearing that bedbugs are more or less making a comeback (in fact management for my apartment complex gave us handouts) and I hear they’re bringing in different kinds of lice.

    I wish our borders were sealed.

    I also believe that there are times when people do something that’s so monumentally stupid that it has to be deliberate.

    • Anglo

      I’m so glad I don’t live in an apartment. I don’t think I could ever go back to living in one. I think about my later years when I can’t take care of my home anymore. What will we do?

  • IstvanIN

    Latin America, the gift that keeps on giving.

    • Pathfinder75

      Except the “gifts” they keep on giving us are much like that from an overflowing commode that won’t stop running.

    • Samuel Hathaway

      You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. Just wait till the $$%@@!# hits the fan when the first, nasty, filthy Mulatto in chief signs the executive order to issue amnesty. They’ll be fleeing Latin America like rats fleeing a burning ship.

      • Anglo

        Won’t that be when the second civil war starts? This can’t continue.

  • Historically, a country’s borders protected it from disease. Now that in practice there is no border, both old and new diseases will be making a comeback. Thus, Jeff Sessions new vow to fight Obama on immigration is welcome not just for it’s cultural and racial implications, but to ensure public health.

    • Pathfinder75

      “Historically,a country’s borders protected it from disease.”

      That is why we need nothing less than a wall of fire to separate us from the dusky,disease-ridden hordes invading us from the dregs of Latin America (and the rest of the Third World).

      • Samuel Hathaway

        Thomas Jefferson wished that an ocean of fire had separated us from Old Europe.

        • Pathfinder75

          That’s exactly where I got the idea for a “wall of fire”.

  • Peter Lamoureux

    The gift of diversity just keeps on giving.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Nothing to worry about:

    Protozoa that induces swelling of the heart ventricles, finally terminating in heart failure in 30% of cases

    So the ebola scare is over and this is the next “disease of the month” to panic over?

    One more disease we didn’t have until infected illegals started pouring in

    …and again we have to resort to the British press to find out what is going on in the United States.

    Large scale anatomy of a heart that has been damaged by chronic Chagas disease

  • TruthBeTold

    They have to bring these diseases here because the racist white man won’t find cures until he’s affected.

    • TonyWestfield

      I would bet that Barry Soetoro (or whatever he was calling himself) was one of those malevolent imbeciles back in the mid-1980’s who were rooting for the HIV contagion to “go hot” in the straight heterosexual population. This was the thesis back then, that the magical wizards of science would solve the AIDS epidemic if only the regular (straight) people would put the scientists to the task. Now an international version of the thesis circulates among the elites, including Barry Obama, and the thesis is largely true…we and our families are the lab rats for this elite experiment.

  • Pathfinder75

    Let this article put an end to the pollyannish claims made by disingenuous windbags in the MSM that our country is immune to the fearsome emergence of these Third World diseases.

    We know better.

  • rechill

    The disease isn’t catchy and as long as they aren’t bringing the actual bugs that transmit the disease, who really gives a hoot?

    • The bugs themselves apparently require a relatively tropical climate, but some of our more southerly states doubtless fit that bill. Racoons, opossums and armadillos function as animal reservoirs, which of course we have in the US. Unfortunately, the protozoan that causes Chagas can complete its entire life cycle in opossums, which means that other arthropod vectors could conceivably step in and spread the disease to humans in more temperate climates here. Ticks come quickly to mind.

      Protozoan infections are notoriously difficult to treat; malaria is a fine (?) example.