Health Concerns

Dr. Harold Harlan © Armed Forces Pest Management Board (with permission)

Although bed bugs have been shown to carry over 28 human pathogens, studies have never shown that they transmit disease to humans. Therefore, bed bugs are considered to be more of a nuisance than a health hazard.

Recent reports in the news indicate that Canadian researchers have discovered bed bugs carrying MRSA, an antiobiotic resistant staff infection near patients with active MRSA infections.  It is not clear if the bed bugs picked up the infection from the patients or vice versa. Research is being conducted to determine if bed bugs can transmit the MRSA infection to humans.
Medical issues related to bed bugs are generally limited to allergic skin reactions to bites, secondary infections as a result of scratching, anxiety about being bitten, and insomnia. In rare cases, people have severe allergic reactions to bites that involve their respiratory system and in even rarer cases, anaphylactic shock may occur.