Kissing Bug Confirmed In Arizona, CDC Warning Phoenix

The “kissing bug,” which can transmit the fatal Chagas disease, has been reported in Arizona, the Centers for Disease Control warns Phoenix.

PHOENIX, AZ — The deadly “kissing bug” has been confirmed in dozens of U.S. states, including Arizona, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Residents of Phoenix are being advised of what this bug is and the dangers it presents. Chagas disease, as it’s officially known, earned the moniker because the triatomine bugs that transmit it typically bite people in the face.

The CDC said in September the kissing bug was making its way north from South and Central America. If Chagas disease is left untreated, the infection is lifelong and can be life-threatening, the agency said. Most infected people don’t experience symptoms, which can include fever, fatigue, aches, headache, rash and swelling at the site of transmission. But in severe cases, Chagas disease can lead to stroke or heart failure.

Currently, about 300,000 people in the United States and 8 million people worldwide are living with the disease, and researchers expect more U.S. infections could occur with climate change.

Kissing bug infections can also be transmitted from mother-to-baby, through contaminated blood products and organ transplants, and, more rarely, during laboratory accidents or through contaminated food or drink. In many countries where the disease is common, donated blood is screened for the disease.

Through found primarily in the southern half of the United States, the kissing bug bit a Delaware girl in 2018, the CDC confirmed last week. The girl was bitten in the face while watching television in her bedroom in the family’s home near a wooded area. The family had not recently traveled outside of their local area, which the CDC said was evidence the kissing bug is in the state.

The girl did not get sick from the kissing bug, according to news reports.

The map below shows where the kissing bug has been found or has the potential to be found.

Credit: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention map

What To Do To Protect Yourself

The CDC says people can protect themselves against the kissing bug in several ways:

  • Seal cracks around the house;
  • Don’t install yard lights near the house, because they can attract bugs;
  • Allow pets to sleep indoors at night;
  • Clear brush or rock piles near the house;
  • Use screens on windows;
  • Keep the home and outdoor pet areas clean.

People who find an insect they think may be a kissing bug should place it unsquashed in a container and take it to their local health department or university for identification, and then thoroughly clean the area where it was found with a solution that includes one part bleach to nine parts water.

The kissing bug can also make pets sick. Researchers with Texas A&M University’s Agriculture and Life Sciences Department said the parasite can infect dogs with severe heart disease, though many don’t show any symptoms. The researchers said complications are typically related to the age of the dog, the activity level of the dog and the genetic strain of the parasite.

There is currently no vaccination to protect humans and dogs from Chagas disease.

Measles Outbreak Declared in Los Angeles County


LOS ANGELES — Public health officials in Los Angeles have declared a measles outbreak in the county, making it the latest metropolitan area to be hit by the illness and part of a national surge in cases rapidly approaching record numbers.

Five cases of measles are being investigated by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Though vaccination rates are typically high in California, a single case can easily spread — not only to those who are not vaccinated, but also to infants who cannot yet receive immunization and to elderly patients with suppressed immune systems.

The public health department said the transmissions are the first confirmed in the county this year. The department believes additional exposures may have occurred in April at Los Angeles International Airport, at several buildings on the University of California Los Angeles campus, at a library at the California State University in Los Angeles, and at several restaurants near Glendale.

Officials did not indicate the ages of those infected but said the majority of individuals were unvaccinated.

Nationally, there have been 626 confirmed cases of measles across 22 states so far this year, already the second-highest number since 2000. And the numbers are growing rapidly. In the last week, 71 new cases were confirmed. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesman said Tuesday that the agency is expecting the number of cases in 2019 to exceed 2014, when there were 667 cases.

It does not have to be this way, say physicians and public health officials: The United States declared measles “eliminated” in 2000, meaning that it was no longer endemic because of the country’s strong vaccination system.

But cases still occur among people who are not vaccinated, and measles can be carried into the United States from other countries.

Convincing individuals and communities who oppose vaccination to get immunized has proved difficult for some political leaders. In New York City earlier this month, amid a growing crisis, Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency, requiring residents of some Brooklyn neighborhoods to receive the measles vaccine.

In California, there have been 23 confirmed cases of measles so far this year, according to the most recent numbers available through the state department of public health. That number is expected to grow, as well.

A single measles case can quickly spiral into an outbreak, especially because people with measles might not know they have the illness for several weeks before they start exhibiting symptoms.

In an outbreak in Butte County in Northern California this year, a single individual transmitted measles to eight other people across several counties.

People who do contract measles often eventually seek medical care at hospitals, where they can potentially transmit the illness to other patients, especially those with compromised immune systems. Infants typically do not receive measles vaccinations until they are about 1 year old and therefore are highly vulnerable.

“The best protection for infants is to have all of the family members vaccinated,” said Dr. Karen Smith, the director of the California Department of Public Health. “One of the things we’re doing very, very aggressively is working with hospitals particularly to make sure they are asking about travel when someone comes in with symptoms that could be measles.”

Though it is rare, people who have been vaccinated have been known to develop measles, typically because their immune system is compromised in some way. Elderly people are often at high risk, as are patients who take medication that affects the immune system, like those being treated for arthritis.

In 2015, a single infected visitor to Disneyland in Anaheim led to a 147-case outbreak across California and several other states.

“Twenty percent of the adults who got measles in that outbreak were hospitalized. Measles is not a benign condition,” Dr. Smith said. “In adults, it can cause an inflammation of the brain just as it can in children, and that can be severe, and it can leave adults with a long-term intellectual disability.”

But medical recommendations regarding vaccination have been rejected by some parents who are skeptical of the accepted science. Some believe immunization may even be harmful, which goes against medical consensus.

The 2015 outbreak in California motivated Leah Russin, the executive director of Vaccinate California, who lives in Palo Alto, to become a pro-vaccination activist. As a new mother during that time, she learned that some parents were opting out of vaccination, which made her deeply anxious about the health of her baby.

Ms. Russin said she strongly believes people have the right to make their own parenting decisions. But she said vaccination is about protecting the most vulnerable, not about parenting trends.

“If you want to nurse your child until he’s 15, fine! That’s not going to impact anybody else. If you want to co-sleep, talk to your doctor about how to do it safely. That’s your choice,” she said. “But vaccinating goes beyond that. Vaccinating affects your community.”

Research Program for patients who have Lyme disease


Do you have, or has  someone you know just been diagnosed with “active” Lyme disease? If so we need patients to donate their plasma to help others. Participants who qualify and participate can earn $200-$500 each time they donate and you can safely donate 2x per week.

To qualify you must be considered positive by CDC standards. You must have a positive screen/EIA as well as the confirmatory Western Blot test performed.

to learn more visit or call 800-510-4003.

To Qualify:
1. Must have “official” hospital or physician diagnosis
2. Must have copies of your blood test results or access to them (EIA & Western Blot)
3. Must be 18-65 years of age
4. Must be 110 lbs or more
5. Must be Negative for HIV/HCV/HBV



New York measles outbreak spreads to more counties

measlesThe measles outbreak in New York has spread to two more counties. Health officials say cases have been confirmed in Westchester and Sullivan Counties following the spike in infections in Rockland County and the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.

Measles has been confirmed in eight children, ranging in age from 6 months to 14 years old, all of whom live in northern Westchester and were not vaccinated, CBS New York reports. Six of the infected children are siblings. Two additional cases were confirmed in Sullivan County.

On Tuesday, New York City declared a public health emergency over the measles outbreak and ordered mandatory vaccinations in one Brooklyn neighborhood for people who may have been exposed to the virus.

Westchester borders Rockland County, where measles cases have been concentrated among members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. The first cases in Westchester occurred in other secluded Hasidic Jewish enclaves, Nitra and nearby Kasho, CBS New York reports. Officials said the children all appear to have been exposed to measles in Rockland County or Brooklyn.”I’m very upset that people have their own opinion and not immunizing the children and putting risk on other children who can get sick,” said Nitra Community Administrator Herschel Reich. “It’s very serious.”

Officials say none of the sick children attend public schools or go to child care programs. The Westchester County Department of Health is working with the families and health care providers to identify locations where the children may have exposed others.

Indiana University confirms 7th case of mumps on Bloomington campus


Another case of mumps was confirmed on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus Thursday, making the seventh confirmed diagnosis this school year.

The new case involves a student who lives in the same fraternity house as another resident diagnosed with mumps, according to IU spokesman Chuck Carney.

The first case of mumps on IU Bloomington’s campus was identified Feb. 12.

The university sent a public safety advisory to students Thursday afternoon, urging them to practice good hygiene habits, such as routinely washing hands with soap and warm water, and ensure they have received two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine.

People with mumps are infectious from two days before until five days after the onset of symptoms, the university advised. Symptoms of mumps include fever, muscle aches, headache and loss of appetite and generally last two or more days.

Students who believe they may have mumps are encouraged to avoid contact with others and seek care as soon as possible, either through their primary care provider or the IU Health Center. The Health Center can be reached at 812-855-4011.

St. Lucie to assist Martin County’s investigation surrounding spike in hepatitis A

Hep A

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Health officials are working around the clock in Martin County to figure out where 16 reported cases of hepatitis A originated from.

“At this point, we are working to confirm a series of information,” said health department spokesperson Renay Rouse.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease spread person to person through food, drinks, or objects contaminated by small amounts of fecal matter. The critical question is how the victims contracted the sickness.

“If the patient is available, they are going to that to that patient and find out a series of things like lifestyle questions, where you ate, where you work, what you do,” said Rouse.

Recently, a Palm City couple died from complications of hepatitis A. Jeffrey and Nancy Kirsch were found dead in their home on March 28.

WPTV is working to confirm a third local death possibly linked to hepatitis A. Neighbors of the deceased say an obituary was written by the man’s widow saying he recently died from the sickness.

At this time, Palm Beach County and Martin County are considered “high risk” because both have at least five cases this year.

Six cases have been reported in Palm Beach County, two cases have been reported in St. Lucie and Okeechobee counties, and none in Indian River County.

The St. Lucie County Health Department said it is assisting Martin County with its investigation of the outbreak.

New York City orders mandatory shots in toughest U.S. action to date against measles


NEW YORK — New York City officials on Tuesday declared a public health emergency and ordered mandatory measles vaccinations to halt an outbreak concentrated among ultra-Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, putting in place the broadest vaccination order in the United States in nearly three decades.

The order is the latest flash point in a nationwide battle to try to stop the second-biggest flare-up of the disease since 2000 — spurred by travel to hot spots, such as Israel, that are experiencing their own outbreaks and widespread misinformation about vaccines that has frightened a generation of parents who have not witnessed firsthand the ravages of one of the most dangerous diseases.

New York’s mandatory vaccination order in four Brooklyn Zip codes is by far the toughest action to date by state or local officials, as the disease’s tally grows to 465 cases in 19 states. Officials there and elsewhere have sought to bar unvaccinated children from schools and other public places but have had only limited success.

Hepatitis A case confirmed at McAlister’s Deli in Kingsport, asking some customers to take action


Hep A

Customers who ate at the restaurant from March 11-27 should contact the dept.

KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – Health officials say an employee at a Kingsport restaurant has been diagnosed with hepatitis and some customers need to take action.

According to the Sullivan County Department of Health, an employee at McAlister’s Deli located at 2003 N. Eastman Road has been diagnosed with acute hepatitis A.

The health department says customers who ate at the restaurant from March 11-27 should contact the department for more information.

“If we give the vaccine within two weeks of exposure, then we can prevent the disease,” Dr. May said.

The department says McAlister’s has taken preventative measures, including closing the store for cleaning and requiring vaccination of employees.

Symptoms of hepatitis A include fatigue, decreased appetite, stomach pain, nausea, darkened urine, pale stools, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). People can become ill 15 to 50 days after being exposed to the virus. Anyone experiencing symptoms should seek medical attention.

The best ways to prevent hepatitis A infection are to get vaccinated and to practice good handwashing to remove germs.

Vaccine can help curb Hoosier hepatitis A outbreak

Hep A

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) – Central Indiana health officials are encouraging individuals to get the hepatitis A vaccine in response to an outbreak of the disease across the state.

“Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus,” Holley Rose, Ripley County Health Department administrator, told our partners at the Batesville Herald-Tribune.

It “is passed in the stool, and people become infected by having contact with the stool of an infected person. For this reason, the virus is more easily spread in areas where there are poor sanitary conditions or where good personal hygiene is not common. Casual contact, as in the usual workplace or school setting, does not spread the virus.”

Symptoms include:

  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • tiredness
  • stomach pain
  • fever
  • dark urine
  • pale, clay-colored stool
  • joint pain
  • loss of appetite
  • yellowing of skin and eyeballs (jaundice)