The present paper is a review of a story by Adrian Mojica published on the ABC 13 News official website on April 18, 2019, that can be accessed through the following URL: wset.com/news/nation-world/potentially-deadly-kissing-bug-confirmed-in-delaware-joins-reports-in-southern-states-04-18-2019. The article brings to attention a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the first confirmed case of the insect Triatoma sanguisuga, also known as the “kissing bug”, biting a person in Delaware (Mojica). It is a blood-sucking insect that feeds from animals and humans and has a predisposition for biting people on the face. Kissing bugs can transmit parasites that cause Chagas disease, which can be deadly if left untreated as it causes heart or brain inflammation.
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The article provides a link to a publication on the CDC official website that can be accessed through the following URL: www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6815a5.htm?s_cid=mm6815a5_e. The webpage was consulted to acquire further details about the incident described in the article by Mojica. In this publication, CDC describes the event in Delaware in greater detail and warns citizens about the possible adverse effects that may be caused by the insect. The article also gives recommendations about preventative measures to protect households that include turning off lights when they are not needed, positioning them away from human or animal dwellings, and clearing out trash piles.
Before reading the article by Mojica and the CDC publication, I was unaware of the ways of preventing blood-feeding insect biting other than repellent usage. According to Mengoni et al., Triatoma sanguisuga is attracted both to light and feces, both of which are more abundant near human and animal dwellings (23). One of the most logical strategies to avoid being bitten by the insects is to eliminate or displace the sources of attraction. Therefore, clearing trash, bird and animal nests, wood and rock piles may be an effective strategy to protect family members. Moving light away from places where kissing bugs are more likely to come into contact with people and domestic animals, such as houses and kennels, can also help to avert bites. Additionally, there are simple ways to prevent insects from entering the house, including sealing “cracks and gaps around windows, air conditioners, walls, roofs, doors, and crawl spaces” (CDC para. 5). The methods described above are suitable for defense against any blood-feeding animals, not just Triatoma sanguisuga. In summary, instead of turning to modern technology, common sense and awareness is the most effective method of preventing unwanted contact with dangerous insects.
Even though for some people it may come as a shock that kissing bugs were found in Delaware, the phenomenon of arthropods changing habitats is not new. In the course of Veterinary Entomology, I have learned that humans facilitate the invasion of insects into new locations. For instance, Asian tiger mosquitos used tires to travel to the US and adapted to the new habitat (Topic 2-2 Slides). These mosquitos can transmit Zika virus that was not found in North America before the appearance of the insects (Topic 2-2 Slides). The situation with the kissing bugs is similar to the one with Asian tiger mosquitos, as before the incident Triatoma sanguisuga was reported only in the southern United States, including Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. The bug may have moved up North with the help of humans, as the world has become increasingly connected (Topic 2-2 Slides). In short, the key concept that was reinforced by the article is human-facilitated invasions of insects.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC). “Notes from the Field: Identification of a Triatoma Sanguisuga ‘Kissing Bug’ — Delaware, 2018.” CDC. 2019, Web.
Mengoni, Sofía L. et al. “Experience-Dependent Modulation of the Attraction to Faeces in the Kissing Bug Triatoma Infestans.” Journal of Insect Physiology, vol. 98, 2017, pp. 23-28. Web.
Mojica, Adrian. “Potentially Deadly ‘Kissing Bug’ Confirmed in Delaware, Joins Reports in Southern States.” ABC 13 NEWS. 2019, Web.