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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Parasitology Case Studies: Protozoa in Blood (by ASCLS). Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Trypanosoma cruzi in U.S.

  • 3 genera of triatome (kissing) bugs live in the U.S.: Triatome, Rhodnius, Panstrongylus
    • Triatoma gerstaeckeri is found in Texas and New Mexico
    • Triatoma rubida and T. protracta live in Arizona and California
    • T. sanguisuga is found across the Southeastern U.S.
  • 18 mammals can carry T. cruzi including oposums, raccoons, skunks, dogs, wood rats, squirrels, and nonhuman primates
  • Animals become infected by eating the bugs
  • Uncommon to have the bugs transmit cases in the U.S.
    • Most U. S. homes are not a good habitat
    • Bugs cannot get inside at night
    • Bugs prefer to stay in the wild only moving into homes in the summer
    • Kissing bugs transmit T. cruzi poorly in the U.S. because the bugs take a blood meal, leave the person and defecate later, unlike bugs in Latin America that defecate on the person immediately after feeding