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

 

Scoop Review Of Books: No Longer An Island

Simon Nathan reviews 'Zealandia: Our Continent Revealed': The idea that New Zealand is part of a large submerged continent is not new... There was renewed interest in the extent of offshore New Zealand from the 1970s onwards with the start of offshore drilling for oil and gas, and this was given impetus by a UN agreement which allowed countries to claim an Extended Continental Shelf (ECS). More>>

Art: Simon Denny Recreates Kim Dotcom’s Personal Effects

Who owns what? How has the internet changed our relation to the world? These are two of the many questions Simon Denny raises in the latest exhibition at the Adam Art Gallery, opening on Saturday 4 October. More>>

Theatre: The F Word: Sex Without The 'ism'

Sex without the 'ism' Okay, so the sexes are equal in the eyes of the law. What the F happens now? More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Don’t Eat The Fish

On 'The Catch' by Michael Field What the ecologically edible lists don’t appear to take into account – and they should – is slavery... It’s not an easy read, but it’s definitely near the top of my listicle of “5 Political Books You Must Read This Year”. More>>

ALSO:

Caracals: Small Cats With Big Ears Arrive At Wellington Zoo

Visitors to Wellington Zoo will be able to see New Zealand’s first Caracals in the Zoo’s new Grassland Cats habitat, with a special visitor opening day on Saturday 27 September. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: Classics - Tales From Moominvalley
Can’t speak for the reading end of it but the Moomins ( or maybe the story about Margaret Wise Brown) were the most enjoyable subject to think about and write about during these whole first 50 issues of Werewolf. For that reason – and because the Moomins always reward re-reading – I’ve decided to reprint it. The only added element is a link to an interesting hour long documentary about Tove Jansson. More>>

ALSO:

Repping In The Pacific: All Blacks And Manu Samoa To Play Historic Apia Test

The All Blacks will play Manu Samoa in Apia on Wednesday 8 July next year as part of both teams’ preparations for Rugby World Cup 2015. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news