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Blood-sucking bug not major killer: scientists

Update: September, 19/2012 - 11:03


Three blood-sucking bugs were detected in Quy Nhon Province. – Photo Courtesy of
HA NOI (VNS)— Scientists have confirmed a blood-sucking bug recently found in Viet Nam is not the same species that has been wreaking havoc in Latin America, spreading a deadly virus likened to AIDS.

The welcome news comes following a two year research project carried out by the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources' Entomology Department, which confirmed the Vietnamese bug doesn't carry the fatal Chagas disease, described by international scientists as the "New AIDS of the Americas."

The conclusion was released after the institute conducted a range of tests for nearly 100 blood-sucking bugs in the research, said Truong Xuan Lam, head of the Institute.

People should not to worry by reports that the blood-sucking bugs have re-appeared in cities of Ha Noi, HCM, Da Nang and central Binh Dinh Province, he said.

There was widespread panic earlier last week, when a four-year-old girl suffered a high fever, itching and sharp pain after being bitten by a blood-sucking bug in Ha Noi's Long Bien District.

She recovered two days after taking medicine, according to her father.

Explaining the case, Associate Professor Nguyen Van Chau, from the National Institute of Malariology, Parasitology and Entomology said the high fever was caused by the blood-sucking bug's venom.

This bug however, rarely transmits diseases and causes a red spot similar to that from a bee or mosquito bite, Chau said.

Recently, there have been reports of blood-sucking bug sightings in a number of areas, including Cau Giay District's Mai Dich Ward and central Binh Dinh Province.

According to Lam, people are advised to clean their beds, wardrobes, house, and area surrounding the house, to avoid being bitten by the blood-sucking bug, he said.

If someone is bitten, they should wash the spot with soap, avoid scraching the wound and head to the nearest health clinic, Lam said.

The blood-sucking bug first appeared in Viet Nam during the late 70s; however it re-appeared in large numbers in 2010.

According to a new research by US-based PLoS (Public Library of Science) Neglected Tropical Diseases, Chagas disease, caused by parasites transmitted to humans by blood-sucking bug is potentially "the new AIDS of the Americas".

The research into the disease has found similarities to the early spread of HIV. It is difficult to detect and has a long incubation period.

It's estimated there are approximately 10 million people living with Chagas disease worldwide, including nearly 300,000 cases in the US. — VNS

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