300,000 Cases Of Chagas Disease Now Reported In U.S.

A hazardous insect from Latin America known as the triatomine bug, or “kissing bug,” has found its way to more than half the United States, serving as a reminder that a porous border lets in more than just human beings. “We have a border security problem, no question about that, and part of the border security problem is a significant health problem,” said Dr. Lee Hieb, an orthopedic surgeon and past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. The kissing bug has been known to carry a parasite that causes Chagas disease, which can be fatal if left untreated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are currently about 300,000 cases of Chagas in the U.S., but most of those people were infected in Latin America. Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, made a connection between the large immigrant influx from Latin America and the appearance of the triatomine bug in 28 different states. “I think that if we have a lot more people coming from endemic areas into the United States, and they’re not being screened for this, and they’re going to an area where there’s the vector, then the chances are that the disease will be spreading more inside the United States,” Orient told WND.

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