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    Infectious Disease Prevention Section
    Mail Code: 1927
    PO BOX 149347 - Austin, TX 78714-9347
    1100 West 49th Street, Suite G401
    Austin, TX 78714

    Phone: (512) 776-7676
    Fax: (512) 776-7616


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Triatomine Testing

Triatomine Submitting a Triatomine Bug

 (Kissing Bug/Cone-Nose Bug/Vinchuca) for
 Trypanosoma cruzi Testing

The Department of State Health Services, in conjunction with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provides testing of triatomine bugs for the Chagas disease parasite. Trypanosoma cruzi is the causative agent of Chagas disease in humans and potentially fatal infections in dogs and other animals. Due to laboratory workload and budget constraints at CDC, only bugs implicated in a human exposure will be accepted for testing. This free service is provided to Texas residents only. Bugs found outdoors that have not been implicated in a human exposure may be sent to the Citizen Science Group at Texas A&M.

  1. If possible, please send a photo of the bug to The.Vet@dshs.texas.gov prior to shipping. There are many other bugs that resemble kissing bugs. See the Texas A&M University Chagas page to view pictures of kissing bugs and non-kissing bugs.  

  2. Once you confirm your bug is a triatomine, complete the “Submitter,” "Specimen," and "Comments" portions of the Texas Triatomine Bug Submission Form which can be downloaded here. If you are submitting more than one bug, you should complete a separate form for each.

  3. Place the bug, dead or alive, into a pill vial or other suitable container. Do not use alcohol or other preservatives. If you are submitting more than one bug, you should place each bug into a separate container and label each container and its accompanying submission form such that we will know which container goes with which form.

  4. Place the container(s), sufficiently padded if breakable, and accompanying “Texas Triatomine Bug Submission Form(s)” into a mailing tube or padded envelope and mail to the appropriate address below, depending on the shipping method: 

If sending via U.S. Mail:                                              
Department of State Health Services                             
ATTN:  Zoonosis Control - MC 1956                          
P.O. Box 149347                                                            
Austin, TX 78714-9347                                                 

If sending via UPS/FedEx/Etc.
Department of State Health Services
ATTN: Zoonosis Control – MC 1956
1100 W 49th St
Austin, TX 78756

Result Reporting
Regional DSHS Zoonosis Control personnel will communicate test results to the original submitter, usually within 2–5 weeks of receiving the specimen (laboratory workload at CDC dictates turnaround time). 

Results should be interpreted with caution:

  • Exposure to a triatomine infected with T. cruzi does not indicate transmission of the parasite occurred.
  • Exposure to a triatomine that tests negative may not rule out infection IF there are other triatomines present in the environment (e.g. living inside the home).
  • Individuals exposed to T. cruzi-infected triatomines should discuss Chagas disease testing options with their medical provider.

Contact Information
For information about triatomine bugs and Chagas disease, contact the DSHS Regional Zoonosis Control Office for your area. 

If you have questions about submitting a triatomine bug, please email the DSHS Zoonosis Control Branch at The.Vet@dshs.texas.gov or call 512-776-7255 to leave a message for a program contact.

Last updated October 12, 2020