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Article

Anaphylactic Reactions Due to Triatoma protracta (Hemiptera, Reduviidae, Triatominae) and Invasion into a Home in Northern California, USA

1
Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA
2
Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA
3
Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA
4
Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and International Medicine, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa, FL 33610, USA
5
Entomology and Nematology Department, Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, University of Florida, Vero Beach, FL 32962, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Brian T. Forschler
Insects 2021, 12(11), 1018; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12111018
Received: 8 October 2021 / Revised: 28 October 2021 / Accepted: 9 November 2021 / Published: 12 November 2021
(This article belongs to the Collection Humans and Arthropod Bites and Stings: Venom and Envenomation)
Kissing bugs are bloodsucking insects found throughout the Western Hemisphere, including the United States, but also within certain regions of the Western Pacific, India, the Middle East, and Africa. Within the Americas, these insects are known to harbor a parasite known as Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of an infection in humans and other mammals known as Chagas disease. The infection can be spread through the fecal matter of the kissing bug when exposed to the skin or ingested from contaminated food or drink products. Kissing bugs will invade human homes and bite residents and their pets. The bite from a kissing bug can also lead to serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. A potentially life-threatening allergic response typically needs emergency medical attention. We describe a home that was invaded by kissing bugs in northern California where the resident developed serious allergic reactions to the bite. The kissing bugs were identified and a blood meal investigation found the presence of human blood as well as the parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi. The resident was tested extensively for chronic Chagas disease due to his repeated exposure to the kissing bug but was found to not have the disease. Those who live in regions where kissing bugs are found naturally should be aware that their bites can be highly allergenic.
Background: Triatoma protracta is a triatomine found naturally throughout many regions of California and has been shown to invade human dwellings and bite residents. A man living in Mendocino County, California, reported developing anaphylactic reactions due to the bite of an “unusual bug”, which he had found in his home for several years. Methods: We conducted environmental, entomological, and clinical investigations to examine the risk for kissing bug invasion, presence of Trypanosoma cruzi, and concerns for Chagas disease at this human dwelling with triatomine invasion. Results: Home assessment revealed several risk factors for triatomine invasion, which includes pack rat infestation, above-ground wooden plank floor without a concrete foundation, canine living in the home, and lack of residual insecticide use. Triatomines were all identified as Triatoma protracta. Midgut molecular analysis of the collected triatomines revealed the detection of T. cruzi discrete typing unit I among one of the kissing bugs. Blood meal PCR-based analysis showed these triatomines had bitten humans, canine and unidentified snake species. The patient was tested for chronic Chagas disease utilizing rapid diagnostic testing and laboratory serological testing, and all were negative. Conclusions: Triatoma protracta is known to invade human dwellings in the western portions of the United States. This is the first report of T. cruzi-infected triatomines invading homes in Mendocino County, California. Triatoma protracta is a known vector responsible for autochthonous Chagas disease within the United States, and their bites can also trigger serious systemic allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis. View Full-Text
Keywords: kissing bug bites; triatomine; anaphylaxis; Triatoma protracta; Chagas disease; Trypanosoma cruzi; California; United States kissing bug bites; triatomine; anaphylaxis; Triatoma protracta; Chagas disease; Trypanosoma cruzi; California; United States
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MDPI and ACS Style

Beatty, N.L.; White, Z.S.; Bhosale, C.R.; Wilson, K.; Cannella, A.P.; Stenn, T.; Burkett-Cadena, N.; Wisely, S.M. Anaphylactic Reactions Due to Triatoma protracta (Hemiptera, Reduviidae, Triatominae) and Invasion into a Home in Northern California, USA. Insects 2021, 12, 1018. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12111018

AMA Style

Beatty NL, White ZS, Bhosale CR, Wilson K, Cannella AP, Stenn T, Burkett-Cadena N, Wisely SM. Anaphylactic Reactions Due to Triatoma protracta (Hemiptera, Reduviidae, Triatominae) and Invasion into a Home in Northern California, USA. Insects. 2021; 12(11):1018. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12111018

Chicago/Turabian Style

Beatty, Norman L., Zoe S. White, Chanakya R. Bhosale, Kristen Wilson, Anthony P. Cannella, Tanise Stenn, Nathan Burkett-Cadena, and Samantha M. Wisely. 2021. "Anaphylactic Reactions Due to Triatoma protracta (Hemiptera, Reduviidae, Triatominae) and Invasion into a Home in Northern California, USA" Insects 12, no. 11: 1018. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12111018

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