Dr. Patricia Dorn and her co-authors' article on Chagas disease, which shows that kissing bugs in California and Arizona are both infected with the Chagas parasite and have fed on humans has been published in the 'Emerging Infections Diseases' journal. Because of its potential interest to the media and the CDC, the journal has chosen to highlight this article. Click here to read the article.
Chagas disease most commonly occurs in Central and South America, where the parasite that causes the disease is spread by specific kinds of blood-sucking bugs (sometimes called kissing bugs). In the United States, only seven cases of Chagas disease are known to have been transmitted by these bugs, but the numbers could increase. The bugs are already here. But do they carry the parasite, do they feed on people, and could they transmit the disease? Dr. Dorn and her co-authors' study answered these questions with yes, yes, and yes. Some of these bugs do carry the parasite and others have fed on people; thus, the potential for Chagas disease in the United States might be higher than previously thought.