Florida Health Officials Ease "Kissing Bug" Worries

Health officials: Deadly 'kissing bug' reported in Georgia
Posted at 5:45 PM, Nov 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-25 15:53:38-05

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- The Florida Department of Health says triatomine bugs, better known as "kissing bugs," are commonly found in the southern United States, but the chance of catching the potentially fatal disease it carries is slim.

The bug carries a parasite which causes the infectious Chagas disease.

Deputy state epidemiologist Dr. Carina Blackmore says the disease is more of a concern in tropical regions of the world.

"Even if you do get a triatomine infestation in your home, the chances of you getting Chagas disease is very, very rare," Blackmore said. "What you do need to do is to get with a pest control company to get that infestation taken care of, but again, the disease is very uncommon in the United States."