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Since 1971

New Study Shows Bed Bugs Can Carry MRSA

5/12/2011 12:00:00 AM
New Study Shows Bed Bugs Can Carry MRSA

When bed bugs began making their comeback several years ago, they weren’t taken very seriously. Exterminators scoffed, and many homeowners reacted with amusement. Bed bugs, once a serious nuisance pest, had been wiped out with the help of chemicals like DDT. “Don’t let the bed bugs bite,” smiling parents told children as they tucked them into bed, never suspecting that such a thing would actually happen.

It happened, and continues to happen. The rapid increase in bed bug infestations is usually described as an epidemic, which is not an exaggeration. They aren’t everywhere — but can be anywhere. Pest control companies struggle with bed bugs, experimenting with different treatments, while scientists continue to study this pest that seemingly came out of nowhere. Of particular concern was the possibility that bed bugs could spread infectious diseases; until now, it was widely believed that they could not.

A new study published in a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) journal reports that several bed bugs from Vancouver, tested by researchers at St. Paul’s Hospital, were found to be carrying two forms of antibiotic-resistant bacteria: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium. Carrying a disease is not the same as transmittingit, and there is still no evidence that bed bugs can transmit MRSA to humans, but the researchers concluded that they might act as “vectors for transmission.”

The good news is that bed bugs can be controlled; it is possible, though not easy (or cheap), to pre-treat a room or treat an existing infestation. We strongly encourage travelers to inspect their hotel room, with the aid of a flashlight, before sleeping in it. Signs of an infestation should be reported to a manager immediately.

For more information on bed bugs, or to request an inspection, call us at 302-436-8140.

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