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Thursday April 17th 2014

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Bed Bug Misconception Number Six

“Bed Bugs Don’t Carry Disease”

It is fact that bed bugs have never been proven to act as disease vectors.  That is to say they have not been shown to actually transmit any disease from one host to another.  But another fact is that they have been observed carrying disease organisms in their mouthparts and bodies.  My concern is that, although they haven’t been proven to act as disease vectors we can’t rule out that for the future.  It may only be a matter of time.  As a Seattle native, I grew up thinking of the mosquitoes in Western Washington as merely itch-inducing nuisances but not health hazards.  We didn’t live in fear of them.  Then along came West Nile Virus and voila, they began vectoring a disease.  Any organism that feeds on the blood of one host then feeds on another has that potential. 

In Vancouver BC an isolated case of mechanical transfer of deadly MRSA and VRE, between homeless indigent individuals living in close proximity, by bed bugs has been documented.  In this rare instance the bugs have been documented as moving these diseases from one infected individual to another by walking across the open sores of one homeless person and then over the open sores of the next, thereby transmitting the disease between hosts.  More information on this issue is available from my earlier article of May 16, 2011.

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