A forest bug clambers on a fern in a garden outside Moscow on June 27, 2017. (YURI KADOBNOV / AFP)
The Guangzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention has posted a reward for the capture of triatomine bugs as it works to prevent an outbreak of Chagas' disease by identifying cases early.
Chagas' disease, which has an incubation period of between 20 and 30 years, is "a new disease like AIDS", the center said.
Chagas' disease, which has an incubation period of between 20 and 30 years, is "a new disease like AIDS"
"The campaign is expected to offer early diagnosis and better treatment to patients in the coming months," the center said in a statement published on its WeChat account on Thursday.
Those who provide the center with triatomine bugs - dead or alive - will receive a reward of 8 yuan (US$1.20) per specimen, it said.
Chagas' disease most often causes flu-like symptoms like fever, facial swelling, body aches and vomiting. However, 20-30 percent of those infected with the disease can contract chronic conditions, including inflammation of the heart, enlargement of the esophagus and colon, blood clotting and even sudden death. It can lie dormant in a human body for decades.
An official from the center said no Chagas' disease cases have been reported in Guangzhou so far, but the city is a place for investigating the Chagas' disease in Guangdong province.
The triatomine bug mainly sucks blood from victims' faces and often defecates in the wound, especially around the eyes and lips where the skin is thinner, the center said in its statement. An adult bug is usually about 2.5 centimeters long.
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The bug is a carrier of the disease, which claims thousands of lives each year in Central and South America. With increasing globalization, cases of the disease have been reported in North America, Europe, Oceania and Japan in recent years, the statement said.
"Chagas' disease might break out in the city if many bugs are present, so it is important to find the bugs and identify victims early to help control infection rates," it said.
"Currently there is no vaccine to prevent Chagas' disease, and there are no specific medicines effective to cure the disease when it reaches a late stage," the statement said.
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Triatomine bugs mainly live in cracks in walls and stones, but have also been found in forests, fields, animal pens and chicken coops. The bugs usually emerge at night to feed.
People who capture the bugs are urged to put them in sealed bottles before taking them to a CDC office in the city.