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December 1963

"Kissing Bug" Bite in Los Angeles

Author Affiliations


Arch Intern Med. 1963;112(6):977-980. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03860060189021

The association of "kissing bugs" (Triatoma protracta) and Chagas' disease (American trypanosomiasis) remains for most practicing physicians a remote disease limited to Mexico and to Central and South America. It is characterized in the acute stage by fever, facial and general edema, adenitis, and anemia, and in the chronic stage by cardiac, central nervous system, and hepatosplenic involvement without associated symptoms.1 The most apparent symptom of Chagas' disease in most cases is the unilateral swelling of the eyelid and face known as the sign of Romana.2

Woody and Woody in 1955 reported a case of Chagas' disease in Texas in a ten-month-old child, treated successfully with tetracycline.3

Appreciation of the extent of endemicity of "kissing bugs" (Triatoma) infestation in the Southwest, and specifically in the Los Angeles area, as well as the nature of reactions to bites by this insect and the potential danger of trypanosomiasis were

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