The North American Kissing Bugs
are being used to take blood samples from the animals so staff do not have to poke them with needles and syringes.
These single-celled protozoa get shuttled among people and animals by several species of insects called kissing bugs
or assassin bugs.
Anti-pest technology has worked on the kissing bugs
In South America, the kissing bug
is responsible for transmitting Chagas' disease, a parasitic infection that causes heart-muscle damage and sometimes death.
While cases have been rare in the United States, a new study published in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infectious Diseases journal found that nearly 40 percent of kissing bugs
collected in California and Arizona have recently fed on human blood.
Allison adds that the kissing bug
is on the move in Latin America, infesting areas of Peru that hadn't previously been afflicted.
in the United States: risk for vector-borne disease in humans.
The organism is spread by kissing bugs
, named for their preference to feed on the faces of their human hosts.
They are known as kissing bugs
as they settle on people's faces at night.
Meanwhile, blood banks are discovering more cases among people without ties to Latin America, and species of kissing bugs
native to the southern United States are increasingly recognized as a non-negligible source of Chagas transmission.