Chamber of Commerce Official’s Death Laid to ‘Kissing Bug’ Bite

<i> United Press International</i>

The death of the executive director of the Lakeport Chamber of Commerce from an allergic reaction to a so-called “kissing bug” bite has prompted state health officials to warn people in rural areas where the pest is found.

Ed Mansell, 42, apparently was bitten as he slept Tuesday night and was taken to a hospital by his son. He died the next day, but officials were not able to determine the cause of death until Saturday.

State Department of Health officials said Mansell’s death was only the second confirmed case in state history of a fatal allergic reaction to the bite of a “kissing bug,” also known as the cone-nose bug. The first case was in Mariposa County in 1975.

Dr. Roger Barron said the bite caused the blood vessels to swell, reducing the flow of blood to the brain and leading to death.