News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Bed Bugs Found Carrying Disease

Bed Bugs Found Carrying Disease

For the first time it has been shown that bed bugs carry infectious diseases. A report to be published in a prestigious medical journal describes how doctors isolated so called ‘superbugs’ from bed bugs found on hospital patients. If this result and the transmission of disease via bed bug blood feeds is confirmed, it makes the worldwide resurgence of bed bugs an even more serious matter than previously thought.

Bed bugs have been increasing in numbers in New Zealand as well as all over the world. The increase in travel, the poor use of insecticides and a general ignorance of how to control them has been blamed. That they could also be vectors of disease is of concern.

Bed bugs have hit the headlines this year with infestations closing public buildings and famous stores in New York, bad experiences for tourists staying in infested hotels and motels, and most recently the possibility that overzealous use of inappropriate insecticide to control of bed bugs may be implicated in the tragic death of Kiwi Sarah Carter in Thailand.

Bed bugs have until now been regarded as a nuisance pest; causing itchy bites and revulsion, but there has been no evidence that they transmit disease despite their habit of taking blood feeds from humans and animals. The report by Canadian Doctors in the journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases does not demonstrate transmission of disease, it does, however, raise the possibility that bed bugs could transmit disease causing organisms from one person to another via blood and puncture wounds.

The patients in the study came from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside – an impoverished community with high rates of homelessness, poverty, HIV/AIDS, and injection drug use. While it has not yet been demonstrated that bed bugs transmit disease organisms during their blood feed, if the results of the study are confirmed it suggests that disease transmission may be possible and there will certainly be an increase in research looking for evidence of disease spread by bed bugs.

The news that there may be a risk of bed bugs transmitting disease must be of concern to us all. That bed bugs have been shown to carry the ‘superbugs’ methicillin-resistant Staphlococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resitant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) is of particular concern where these difficult to treat bacteria are common. While not found in this study it may be assumed that other disease organisms could also be carried by bed bugs.

The increase in bed bug numbers in New Zealand and around the world combined with evidence that they can carry disease should make us all more vigilant. It is possible to reduce the risks of encountering and carrying bed bugs from place to place. The New Zealand pest control product manufacturer Kiwicare provides advice on their website on how to identify bed bugs, how to prevent picking them up in luggage during travel and how to get rid of them.

David Brittain, Technical Support Manager at Kiwicare says, “We should take the news that bed bugs may carry disease seriously. But it seems likely that because there has never been any epidemiological evidence found linking bed bugs with disease outbreaks any transmission of disease is rare.”

It makes sense to try to prevent the spread of bed bugs and Kiwicare is in the forefront of helping to advise New Zealanders on their control and providing safe and effective products. The knowledge of what to look for and how to use bed bug control products will help us all in the battle against this re-emerging pest and the disease they may transmit.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Gold For RNZ: Muslim Post-9/11 Series, Kim Hill Win In New York

The Radio New Zealand podcast series Public Enemy has won a gold award for excellence for its presenter, Mohamed Hassan, at the prestigious New York Festival Radio Awards announced in Manhattan today. RNZ National’s Saturday Morning host, Kim Hill, also received a gold award for Best Radio Personality. More>>

Human Rights Commission: Give Nothing To Racism

A campaign urging New Zealanders to give nothing to racism and refuse to spread intolerance has been launched by some of the country’s most well-known people. More>>

Louis Vuitton Series Win: Emirates Team NZ Will Challenge For The America’s Cup

By beating Artemis 5-2 they now take on Oracle Team USA in the America’s Cup match starting next weekend. More>>

ALSO:

Monterey: Rodger Fox Big Band Invited To Celebrated Festival

The Rodger Fox Big Band has received an invitation to perform at the 2017 Monterey 60th Anniversary Jazz Festival in the USA in September of this year. More>>

AntARTica: Scientist’s Painting Discovered In Antarctic Hut

The New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust has discovered an almost perfectly preserved 118 year old watercolour painting among penguin-excrement, dust and mould covered papers found in an historic hut at Cape Adare, Antarctica. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Set In Stone

Tthere are over a thousand public war memorials scattered around the country, commemorating over 30,000 New Zealanders who have died in wartime, and most of whom are buried overseas. More>>>More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland