The CDC is alerting New Jersey residents about the Triatomine bug, or 'Kissing Bug.' The way it infects is straight out of a horror movie.

CDC

The name 'Kissing Bug' came from the fact that this bug is known for biting people on the face. Guess I'll never be sleeping again. This bug can infect animals as well. Once bitten, humans and animals run the risk of contracting Chagas.

Symptoms of Chagas include fever, fatigue, swelling, and a rash. It can, however, be deadly leading to stroke or heart failure. Chagas has even caused heart failure in dogs.

Don't let the name fool you, this is no joking matter. 'The Kissing Bug' looks like this.

Steve Lenz

According to the CDC, these bugs can live indoors, in cracks and holes of housing, or in a variety of outdoor settings including the following:

  • Beneath porches
  • Between rocky structures
  • Under cement
  • In rock, wood, brush piles, or beneath bark
  • In rodent nests or animal burrows
  • In outdoor dog houses or kennels
  • In chicken coops or houses

So how do you keep these suckers out of your space? The CDC recommends:

  • Sealing cracks and gaps around windows, walls, roofs, and doors
  • Removing wood, brush, and rock piles near your house
  • Using screens on doors and windows and repairing any holes or tears
  • If possible, making sure yard lights are not close to your house (lights can attract the bugs)
  • Sealing holes and cracks leading to the attic, crawl spaces below the house, and to the outside
  • Having pets sleep indoors, especially at night
  • Keeping your house and any outdoor pet resting areas clean, in addition to periodically checking both areas for the presence of bugs

Consult a licensed exterminator when it comes to this bug.

S. Kjos via CDC

If you think that you've found a Triatomine bug, DO NOT TOUCH OR SQUASH IT! It's a common reaction to kill a bug when you see one, but it's not ideal with 'The Kissing Bug.'

Instead, the CDC says to place a container on top of the bug, slide the bug inside, and fill it with rubbing alcohol or, if not available, freeze the bug in the container. Then, you may take it to your local extension service, health department, or a university laboratory for identification.

Surfaces that have come into contact with the bug should be cleaned with a solution made of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water (or 7 parts ethanol to 3 parts water).

If you think that you have been bitten, go to a healthcare provider immediately!

[source: CDC]

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