Latin American disease-carrying bugs found in Hanoi

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Blood-sucking bugs carrying a parasite that causes a disease specific to Latin America, sometimes fatal in humans, are growing in numbers in Hanoi, local scientists announced Monday.


Truong Xuan Lam, chief of the insect department under the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, said the kissing bugs have been found in houses and hotels in Hanoi localities including Ha Dong and Tu Liem districts since the end of last year.


"It proves that the bugs are growing in numbers within the city and in residential areas," Lam said.


Carrying the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi that causes Chagas disease, the bugs were found in Latin American countries in 1979 and have been studied since then.


But, this was the first time they were discovered in a specific location in Vietnam, according to Lam.


So far, agencies in Vietnam are yet to conduct any research on the bugs, he said.


The scientist said Chagas 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.

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