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Bugs That Transmit 'Silent Killer' Are Biting More in U.S.

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A Chagas disease epidemic is not likely in North America, but kissing bug bites do cause severe allergic reactions for some victims.

Transmitted by bloodsucking kissing bugs, tropical Chagas disease—which afflicts millions in Central and South America—may affect more people in the U.S. than previously thought. Although doctors officially have recorded only seven cases of new human infections in North America, a new study found that five of 13 kissing bugs collected from California and Arizona had bitten a human host—and many of the bugs they collected were infected with Chagas.

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