Parents nervous about reported ‘kissing bug’ sightings in the Mid-South

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- There are reports of people finding the kissing bug in the Mid-South. An East Memphis woman told WREG she thinks she found one in her trash can.

The possibility of the bugs being in the Mid-South has parents a little nervous, because the insect’s bite can be deadly to children.

One parent said even letting her kids do the small things like play outside is scary because the bugs could hide anywhere.

“It looks like a normal bug that you'll see crawling on the ground,” Deidra Pete said.

That was Pete's reaction when we showed her a picture of a kissing bug. She says what's also disturbing is that bugs found mostly in South America made it to Tennessee.

“It looks like it can be mistaken as a spider or anything, That's something we need to be on the lookout for after seeing that, that's scary just seeing a picture of it,” she said.

The mother of five says what's even scarier is knowing the insects could hurt her children, possibly killing them if they come in contact with the creatures. Now she's going to pay even more attention to her children's surroundings.

“For it to be deadly towards children, that's really something that we all should watch our children, where they're playing, where they're going to be at. Make sure the school doesn't have it because most of the time kids bring the bugs to school, they could bring the bugs to school,” she said.

The insects can be found under porches, stones, animal structures, and rodent nests.

Although there's only a moderate case of this in Tennessee, parents like Pete are still worried.

Health officials urge people across the Mid-South to look out for the bug. It’s known to attack at night while you’re sleeping and can cause Chagas disease, which can lead to heart problems or even death.

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