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Dangerous ‘kissing bug’ spreading north from South America, CDC warns

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

What You Need to Know: Kissing Bugs

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A potentially deadly insect that bites people around the mouth is making its way farther north from South and Central America.

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Doctors call the insect, known as triatoma sanguisuga and nicknamed the "kissing bug," a silent killer.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said while the bug sucks your blood, it defecates, which leaves behind a parasite that can lead to the potentially deadly Chagas disease.

Related: What is Chagas disease, the deadly condition caused by the kissing bug?

Last year, the CDC warned the bugs were on the move and had been spotted as far north as Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and North and South Carolina.

 

Doctors said symptoms typically include severe redness and itching, but can be as serious as irregular heartbeats that can cause sudden death, problems with digestion, and an increased chance of having a stroke.

They also said, after a couple days, you may not feel anything unusual for years.

Officials said most people only experience minor symptoms.

ExploreRelated: ‘Kissing bug' native to NC; little cause for concern, experts say

The CDC said homeowners should remove trash, wood, and rock piles from around their home and clear out any bird or animal nests.