Bed Bugs May Spread Disease, Study Finds
Posted by Shifrah on Monday, May 16, 2011
Though universally regarded as a repulsive nuisance, bed bugs have not been considered a major health threat – until now. In addition to the skin irritation that bed bug bites can cause in individuals with bed bug allergies, a peer-reviewed study published last week in an online journal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that bed bugs could play a role in transmitting disease.

According to the Washington Post article Bed bugs may play role in the spread of drug-resistant bacteria MRSA, study finds, "In a tiny sample of bedbugs, collected from a small number of residents living in crowded conditions in a poor neighborhood in Canada, researchers found the drug-resistant bacterium known as MRSA."

The researchers at a hospital in Vancouver, B.C. tested three patients from the neighborhood affected with the bed bug infestation, along with a sample of five bed bugs. "Three bedbugs from one patient contained methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and the two from the other patients each contained vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE)."

Typically, experts offer differing views on what such data might mean. Medical director of infection prevention and control at St. Paul's Hospital Marc Romney says, "Even though this is a small study, it suggests that bedbugs may be playing a role in the transmission of MRSA in inner-city populations where bedbug infestations are a problem."

On the other hand, Robert Wirtz, chief of entomology at the CDC’s Center for Global Health, points out that the study "emphasizes the need for some further studies to determine the potential bedbugs have for transmitting these agents. While the work was well done and it shows an association, it doesn’t establish that bedbugs are capable of transmitting the bacteria."

Regardless, we're sure you feel, as we do, that protecting your home from bed bugs is more important than ever. Use Allergy Armor Bed Bug mattress protectors and Danby dehumidifiers to discourage bed bug infestations.

For more on bed bugs, see:

Five Ways to Bite Back at Bedbugs
Bed Bugs: Recognize and Keep These Home-Bound Insects at Bay

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