Everyone likes to go on vacation, and most people dream of traveling to far off places to experience new and exciting things. But, if you are going to travel away from home, you’d better make sure all you’re bringing back is a few t-shirts and other simple souvenirs. These days people aren’t checking their luggage as carefully as they should and end up bringing home unwanted guests. The biggest threat to our health right now are tropical diseases spread by insects. How do they get here?
These terrible diseases are transmitted to people traveling in other countries by the insects there. Then that disease is spread to local insects through their interaction with those people. Once local insects carry the disease it’s game over because they can spread it at an incredibly fast speed to a limitless number of people here in the U.S.
The disease that has Dr. Mark Siegel, professor of medicine at NYU’s Langone Medical Center, is Chagas disease, a huge problem in South America and Latin America. This “kissing bug” comes to unsuspecting people at night and literally “kisses” or bites their face, transmitting a disease-carrying parasite into the bloodstream. While you may not experience symptoms initially, eventually 20 to 30 percent of infected individuals develop heart or digestive problems, some which are life-threatening and have no treatment whatsoever.
So, make sure you bring your bug spray with you on your next vacation. Have you traveled abroad? Did you prepare for unwanted tag-alongs?