The blood-sucking bugs found in Vietnam aren't the "kissing bugs" that transmit the potentially fatal disease commonly known as Chagas.
Scientists have recently announced that the bugs found here are Triatoma rubrofassiata also known as "assassin bugs" and are fairly harmless.
"Kissing bugs" are also known as Triatoma infestans in Latin America and Triatoma dimidiate in Central America, said Nguyen Manh Hung, chief of the National Institute of Mariology, Parasitology and Entomology.
The kissers are the ones that transmit Chagas.
Chagas disease starts with sleeping sickness, headache, dizziness and fatigue. Many years later, infected people develop chronic symptoms like digestive problems and may even suffer fatal heart failure.
Researches have discovered that the bites from the vampiric insects found in Vietnam only cause short-term irritation to human victims. So far they have yet found any diseases transmitted byTriatoma rubrofassiata, Hung said.
The "assassin bugs" were first found in Vietnam many years ago.
Every year, bites are reported in Hanoi and several other localities, according to Hung.
Last week Truong Xuan Lam, chief entomologist at the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, caused a buzz when he announced that he had found kissing bugs in Hanoi's center.
According to Lam, he first found the insects in the northern region's highlands in 2004, but since 2008 he has found more than 30 bugs, including their larvae, in several central districts in Hanoi.