LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A dangerous bug known as the "kissing bug" has been spotted in Arkansas.
According to the CDC, nearly 300,000 people may be infected with the disease these bugs are known for carrying in the south.
They got their name because they prefer to bite around the eyes or mouth. There are no confirmed infections yet, but one Jonesboro woman found the bug in her home and immediately posted it to social media. She said her first instinct was to kill it, but it wasn't easy.
"Not knowing that wasn't the way I was supposed to do it because I didn't know that was a dangerous bug. It was big, it was ugly, it was the size of a dime," said Terry Summers of Jonesboro.
Veterinarian Archie Ryan says kissing bugs carry a parasite that causes diseases in both people and animals.
"The disease that arises from kissing bugs or triamptine bugs is called Chagas. There are common bugs in the Arkansas delta, it has been diagnosed in surrounding states although it is not prevalent. Ultimately the patient develops an auto immune reaction and organ failure," said Ryan.
Kissing bugs can be found around woodpiles, debris in the yard and nests. There are 11 different species, but the CDC has only identified one species in Arkansas.
- Learn more about this bug from the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/chagas/gen_info/vectors/