SARASOTA, Fla. -- Fresh off of a warning from the CDC that the "Kissing Bug" had been spotted in Florida, we now have word of a sighting in Manatee County.
ABC 7 viewer Ian Wann sent us these pictures and the following message:
"I work on University Parkway just East of the construction on the I-75 Exchange and I observed this bug. I saw something on Facebook a couple days ago and remembered that it was called a Kissing Bug and it transmits something called Chagas's Disease which is fatal. Apparently the bug bites the victim on the face or lips (Hence the name) and defecates in the wound transmitting the disease.
Well, I thought it might be news worthy since the CDC is sending out blast about it and I have not heard or seen it before in Sarasota."
While we can't say for sure if the insect in the picture is, in fact, the "Kissing Bug," (we're working on getting confirmation) the rest of the details from Wann's story are correct.
The infected inch-long Triatomine bugs carrying the parasite can pass it through bites. The bites are typically around the mouth and face, which is how they get their nickname "kissing bugs." Once in the body, the parasite can remain hidden for years, or even decades, eventually resulting in heart disease.
According to the CDC, it estimates about 8 million people are infected worldwide. Most of the infected are reportedly in Central and South America.