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Can Bedbugs be Deadly?

Posted: November 8th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Bedbugs: annoying and disgusting, sure.  They can send you to the poorhouse and the madhouse, yes.  But how about to the morgue?  The answer is a resounding, perhaps! According to an article in Crains:

“A Cornell University scientist sees a likely link between bedbug bites in hospitals and cases of serious—even fatal—drug-resistant staph infections…”

Patients in hospitals that have bedbug infestations have been coming down with MSRA, an antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus bacterial infection.  From the same article:

“What we are starting to see is that hospitals just cannot get rid of MRSA until they get rid of bedbugs,” said Ms. Gangloff-Kaufmann, who has a PhD in the study of insects. It’s not that bedbugs harbor staph in their blood and transmit it by biting, the way mosquitoes do with viruses, she says. Rather, bedbug bites can create hiding places where MRSA can take hold.

Bedbugs likely do not transmit the infection through their bite the way mosquitos do because of the long period of time they can sustain between feasting on different victims. 

The problem is that when a patient scratches a bedbug bite, they could be introducing staph into the wound.  MSRA infections are very common in hospitals, and can cause illness, emergency amputation or even death.  A link between MSRA infection and bedbugs makes logical sense, as any scratch or cut could lead to introduction of the organism.  However, the correlation has not yet been tested and proven.  We feel confident that bedbugs are glad to do their part. 

So if you are in the hospital and you have itchy bites, maybe don’t scratch them.  Keep your nails short and your hands clean.  Also keep the area clean and alert your doctor to any bites.  Click here for more info on treating bedbug bites. 

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