If left untreated for several decades, it can lead to heart and digestive diseases and it's believed Charles Darwin may have been bitten by kissing bugs
during his explorations and that he suffered from Chagas disease.
The kissing bug
lives in tropical climates and most of its victims are in poverty-stricken regions with limited access to medical care.
It is called the kissing bug
because it feeds on a sleeper's face.
PUCKER UP: Kissing Bug
is used to extract samples at zoo Picture: PAUL SHARP; EAR THEY COME: Elephants, including Yasmin, at the zoo
More recently, in a mock hut built inside Dotson's CDC laboratory, the researchers deposited fake kissing bug
feces containing engineered bacteria.
For those publicity-hungry movers and shakers in celebrity circles, however, the kissing bug
had soon run its course.
This blood meal is necessary for male kissing bugs
to mate and for the female kissing bug
to lay eggs.