There are a lot of bugs on this earth, and most of them are totally harmless. They're not likely to hurt a human being, although they can make us freak out when we unexpectedly find one on us.
via: National Geographic
But there's one bug that Americans should be very, very concerned about.
They're called the "Assassin Bug", or "Kissing Bug". This bug can cause the spread of a highly hazardous diseases called American Trypanosomiasis. It is deadly to humans and pets.
via: QuirlycuesAlso known as "Chagas Disease".
Chagas disease has claimed the lives of over 400 dogs in Texas so far.
via: Modern Dog Magazine
The bug feeds on blood. For dogs, that is the area around their eyes, and mouths.
The disease is contracted when the bug bites into the dog and then — sorry, this is nasty — rubs its feces into the bite wound or into a mucous membrane.
via: NJ Herald
The bugs feed when pets are asleep.
Dogs can also get Chagas disease by eating the bugs.
Chagas disease is known as "the silent killer" because people don't know they have it until the later stages of the disease.
via: DailyMailThe results can be fatal.
Symptoms of Chagas disease include massively swelling eyelids.
via: MaggioNews...and anaphylactic shock. Which can cause asphyxiation, and even death.
Symptoms may start out as flu-like, but eventually become very painful. If you suspect you or your child might have contracted Chagas, go to a hospital immediately.
via: Seattle Children's
Assassin Bugs live in places near the home - under rocks and cement, cracks in walls, underneath porches, outdoor dog houses, and forrested areas.These bugs are highly dangerous to children and animals that play near wooded areas.
This dog had Chagas disease, and as they state in the news report - the disease cannot be passed from dog to human.