STILLWATER, Okla. -- An Oklahoma State University researcher is encouraging residents who find kissing bugs to mail it in to OSU for testing purposes.
The insect, commonly called a kissing bug, transmits a parasite that causes Chagas disease in humans and dogs.
“Kissing bugs are blood suckers and are known to transmit the deadly parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease in people and dogs,” said Kelly Allen, parasitologist and researcher. “While the disease may remain inapparent for years, eventual cardiac and gastrointestinal tissue damage in chronic infections can be fatal in some patients.”
Allen is looking to learn more about the disease in Oklahoma. She encourages anyone who finds a bug to mail it to her for testing.
“Place the bug inside a small plastic container such as a pill bottle, Tupperware container or small empty bottle,” said Allen. “Then place that container in an envelope or box to protect the bug during shipping. We will also need a Kissing Bug Submission Form completed and included with the package. There is no charge to have the bug tested or to run PCR on the bug.”
To submit a kissing bug for testing, mail the suspected kissing bug and the completed submission form to: Attn: Dr. Kelly Allen, Oklahoma State University, Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, 225 McElroy Hall, Stillwater, OK 74078.
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