Posted on June 10, 2021 at 2:14 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

The book under discussion on Fresh Air recently contains multiple topics many of us want to forget about: diseases and insects.

So consider that a trigger warning before reading Terry Gross’s interview with Daisy Hernandez, author of The Kissing Bug: The True Story Of A Family, An Insect, And A Nation's Neglect Of A Deadly Disease.

Though its name sounds harmless, the title insect’s fecal matter can contain a parasite that causes Chagas disease; Hernandez explains that when the bug bites a human, it excretes as well, and the act of itching the bite and then touching an orifice (say your eye, nose, or mouth) transits the parasite.

She wrote the book after watching her aunt suffer from Chagas complications for years.

It explores not only her aunt’s experience, but also the historical treatment  of Chagas (or, in one tragic medical experiment, the lack thereof).

You can read Hernandez and Gross’s conversation about The Kissing Bug on NPR’s website or listen to it below.

Categories: Author Interview

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