Chagas is a disease caused by a parasite that is spread by the bite of triatomine bugs (more commonly known as kissing bugs, reduviid bugs, cone-nosed bugs, or blood suckers). Chagas is primarily found in Central and South America and Mexico. Chagas has been found locally in Arizona, but it is very rare. There is some evidence of spread between insects and animals in parts of the southern U.S.
triatomine bug
  1. Transmission
  2. Signs & Symptoms
  3. Treatment
  4. Prevention
Chagas is spread primarily through kissing bug bites. Chagas is spread to people when the infected kissing bug poops while biting. If the kissing bug’s poop is rubbed into the bite wound or into a mucous membrane (for example, the eye or mouth), the parasite can enter the body. These bugs generally bite at night while people sleep.

Chagas can be spread in other ways, too. Chagas can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her child, from infected blood or organs during transfusion/transplant, and potentially by ingesting food or water contaminated with kissing bug poop.