Northern Virginia: 'Ground Zero' for Kissing Bug Disease
The Atlantic highlights the burden of Chagas diease in Northern Virginia.
"According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 8 million people have Chagas disease worldwide, most of them in Latin America. The triatomines, or the so-called kissing bugs, live in the cracks of walls in rural houses made of mud and thatched roofs and they bite people at night, passing the parasite through their feces. The bite itself is painless, and many people never show any signs of the disease. A third of those with Chagas, however, develop heart disease or megacolon, and untreated, they die from what appear to be sudden heart attacks. An estimated 11,000 people lose their lives every year to the disease, according to the WHO."