(WVLT) -- According to the Tennessee Department of Health, "kissing" bugs carrying the parasitic infection known as Chagas disease are infecting humans with life threatening illness that can kill if gone undetected.
American trypanosomiasis, or Chagas disease, is caused by a parasite that is passed to humans by an infected triatomine bug, what officials are nick-naming the "kissing bug".
The department reported only been 4 cases of the disease in the last decade.
According to TDH, during the first stages of the disease an infected person will experience mild symptoms including swelling around the infection site. During this stage of infection, parasites may be found in the blood.
During later stages of the disease, 30% of those infected will develop medical problems that may be life threatening, such as heart rhythm abnormalities that can cause sudden death or a dilated heart, esophagus or colon. During this stage, parasites are no longer found in the blood.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that kissing bugs are usually found indoors, in cracks and holes of homes, and in a variety of outdoor settings.
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