Assassin Bug -stop bugging me!

Recently I had a patient present with an allergic reaction on his arm.  ”I think something bit me.”

He did have a red dot in the middle of the red swollen area.  He then proceeded to tell me how he thought he had been bit by an assassin bug.  Now these bugs are the source of some controversy in Northern California.  I have spoken to an entomologist who says we don’t have real assassin bugs in our area.

The patient was not convinced.  He went home, searched his house and found a black bug with a small head.  He put it in a jar, and brought it in to the ER (still alive) for me to look at.  I had to admit that it looked quite a bit like the photographs I found on Google.  A colleague of mine took one look at the bug, took it out of the jar, and put it in his hand.  He then proceeded to “smack it around” trying to get it to bite him.  The bug did nothing, however.  

It simply took the abuse, and then stood there.  ”It’s a beetle,” my colleague declared.

The charge nurse was not convinced.  ”If it’s an assassin bug, maybe he won’t just bite you,” she said.  ”Maybe he waits until you least suspect it, and then sneaks up from behind, with a knife.”

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