The Centers for Disease Control is reporting that in July of 2018 a family from Kent County, Delaware reported to the Delaware Division of Public Health an unidentified insect had bitten their child’s face while she was watching television in her bedroom in the late evening hours.
The CDC now says a preliminary investigation has identified the insect as Triatoma sanguisuga, more commonly known as “the Kissing Bug.” The insect is blood-sucking and can feed on animals and humans, also having the potential to transmit Chagas disease, which can lead to infection and heart complications later in life.
The family had reported to DPH due to concern of possible disease transmission. DPH learned that the family lived in an older, single-family home near a heavily wooded area. They say a window air conditioning unit was located in the bedroom where the bite occurred. They also say the family had not traveled outside the local area.
Kissing bugs are not common in the United States and are most commonly found in Latin America, according to the CDC. The CDC says that no evidence of kissing bugs in Delaware currently exists.
The CDC is still urging caution including locating outdoor lights away from dwellings such as homes, dog kennels and chicken coops and turning off lights not in use. They also say home owners should remove trash, wood and rock piles from around the home and clear out any bird and animal nests are the home. Gaps and cracks around windows, air conditions, walls, roofs, doors and crawl spaces should also be properly sealed.
Officials say the kissing bug, which tends to live in the wild and not in human areas is particularly predisposed to humans, and can be attracted by their breath.