What Is a Kissing Bug?


Quick Answer

A kissing bug is an insect that sucks blood from the lips of humans. The insect also transmits trypanosoma cruzi, a parasite which causes Chagas disease.

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Full Answer

The kissing bug is normally found in the cracks and crevices of decrepit housing complexes in Central and South America, but they are also found in the United States. There are different species, but two of the most common are the bloodsucking conenose insect and the Western bloodsucking conenose insect. They are called conenose bugs because of their cone-shaped heads.

The bugs are able to remain on the lips because most people aren't aware that the insects are feeding, but some have allergic reactions from the insect's saliva. The bug only becomes a carrier when it bites an animal or person who already has Chagas disease, but the infection is given to people when the bug lays droppings on the skin.

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