Blood-sucking bugs are spreading Chagas disease in Texas
A lethal disease spread by so-called “kissing bugs” is spreading quickly throughout the southwestern U.S., a new study shows.
Described by some researchers as “the new HIV/AIDS of the Americas,” Chagas disease afflicts more than 8 million people in South and Central America and over 300,000 in the Southwestern U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But the true toll of the disease, which kills 40 percent of its victims, is difficult to calculate because many cases are never diagnosed. Swollen internal organs, such as the esophagus, digestive tract and heart — its most common symptom — are not unique to Chagas.