Biggest group of blood-sucking bugs found in Hanoi

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A group of more than 200 blood-sucking bugs have been found in Hanoi, all strong and some had laid eggs, experts said Saturday.


Officials from the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources said the group was the biggest one found so far. They were discovered in a household in Hanoi, and there's a very high chance that they will spread out as all members are in good shape, they added.


The group was found Friday in an area of around 1-2 square meters when institute experts were destroying and taking bug samples at a house in Tu Liem District.


Truong Xuan Lam, an expert from the institute, said 60-70 percent of bugs in the group had blood in their body, which means they had feasted on residents in the neighborhood.


All inhabitants of the house have developed symptoms like fever and drowsiness, and have many insect bite marks on their skins.


In Vietnam, the blood-sucking bugs were first found in Hanoi and then provinces in the central region. Scientists first suspected the bugs were ones carrying the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi that causes the Chagas disease specific to Latin America.


The disease starts out with sleeping sickness, headaches, dizziness and fatigue within the first few months. Many years later infected people will develop chronic symptoms like digestive problems and may even suffer fatal heart failure.


Later, scientists said the bugs found in Vietnam are "assassin bugs" that are fairly harmless. But they said they were still carrying out more research into the insects.


Blood-sucking bugs have curved and sharp spouts like bees or mosquitoes. Their bodies are flat and they move slowly, mostly crawling.


The bugs release an anesthetic when sucking, so people don't feel anything at first, experts said.

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