One of the facts always pointed out about bed bugs is that, while terribly annoying, they are not a health risk. True, some people (about a third of the population) react to bed bug bites — some horribly — but the bites don’t (usually) cause more than itching and red welts.
However, bed bugs may be a bit more dangerous than previously thought, according to some new research published by a group of Canadian scientists. It appears that bed bugs, under some circumstances, can in fact carry diseases — specifically the nasty MSAR (this is the bacteria associted with bad Staph Infections, for example).
Researchers at a Vancouver, British Columbia hospital collected bed bugs from several residents living in the crowded conditions in a poor Vancouver neighborhood. The researchers captured 5 bed bugs from this area tested and found the insects carried two bacteria types, both drug-resistant — one of the bacteria being of the MRSA variant.
For those who’ve never heard of MRSA, it’s a particularly vicious sort of bacteria that’s spread by casual contact and can cause serious infections (the common Staph Infection being one of them) and life-threatening conditions. Recently, there have been quite a few outbreaks in hospitals.
This is a worrying development as it may indicated that bed bugs can contribute to the spread of diseases in overcrowded areas. MRSA can be easily spread via any sort of contact — human or in this case, bug. So the previous thoughts about bed bugs NOT spreading any sort of disease may, in fact, be wrong. It’s still not clear how much of a role bed bugs may be playing in the spreading of drug-resistant bacteria such as MRSA, but they may be contributing. One positive note I’d like to point out here is that IF bed bugs are linked to health risks (currently, bed bugs are NOT considered a health risk by US and Canadian health officials because they don’t spread disease), there may be increased funding allocated towards bed bug eradication. Currently, local governments across North America barely even acknowledge bed bus as a problem and there is little in the way of official government resources in place to deal with bed bugs — both inspections and treatments.
We will keep you updated with this development.
All in all, just another reason why you don’t want bed bugs living in your home.