“Bed bugs cause a variety of negative physical health, mental health and economic consequences. Many people have mild to severe allergic reaction to the bites with effects ranging from no reaction to a small bite mark to, in rare cases, anaphylaxis (severe, whole-body reaction). These bites can also lead to secondary infections of the skin such as impetigo, ecthyma, and lymphanigitis. Bed bugs may also affect the mental health of people living in infested homes. Reported effects include anxiety, insomnia and systemic reactions” CDC-EPA Joint Statement On Bedbugs
The Center for Disease Control, in a joint statement with Environmental Protection Agency this year said that bed bugs were, “a significant public health concern.” Many attorneys for plaintiffs have quoted the CDC/EPA statement as proof that hotels and apartments are financially liable for tenant’s health bills and psychological maladies associated with bed bugs.
“Woman Receives $71,000 From Bed Bug Bites” San Francisco Hotel Pays!
So, do bed bugs transmit disease?
Bed bugs, like mosquitoes and ticks pierce the skin and suck the blood of their victims. They also inject an “anesthesia” like mosquitoes do. Unlike mosquitoes and ticks, bed bugs have not been scientifically proven to transmit diseases.
According to some sources, however,
- Bed bugs are suspected of transmitting 41 human diseases.
- HIV has been found to survive up to 8 days inside a bed bug after it fed on an HIV positive victim.
- Hepatitis B can survive 7 ½ weeks inside a bed bug, which has fed on a host carrying Hepatitis B.
Whether or not bed bugs can transmit human disease agents remains a point of contention. Attorneys representing plaintiffs bitten by the bugs in hotels and apartments often firmly state that the risk is real and warrants compensation.
While not scientifically proven to transmit disease, the record of science and the medical community has not been totally reliable concerning some public health issues. Some of us have grown up with ad campaigns like this one, which was commonly seen on television and in print.
This ad is almost humorous today. But for decades, smoking was considered healthy and beneficial by the medical community. Will there come a time when there is new research and a completely different medical stance on the ever-mutating bedbug?
What is the most serious health concern presently with bed bugs?
One of the most serious health concerns presently with bed bug bites, is MRSA. Methicillin Resistant Staph Infection is potentially deadly. Today it is also commonly called Medically Resistant Staph Infection. The scratching associated with repeated bug bites breaks the skin. In the age of MRSA there are significant health risks with repeated skin breaks.
Different people have different reactions to bed bug bites. For many, severe allergic reactions cause large welts, itching, and extreme discomfort.
Because bed bugs can hatch in 10 days and reach maturity in as little as 21 days, they reproduce at an astonishing rate. Bed bugs feed every night, biting their victims repeatedly. They are voracious, and are adept at feeding without the host feeling the bites until morning.
Left untreated, victims are covered in large itching welts.
The victim to the left received these bed bug bites in a single night, staying in an infested room.
Again, any break in skin causes increased risk for MRSA. Repeated bed bug bites and scratching causes health risks that are potentially dangerous.
“The Staphylococcus aureus bacterium (MRSA) is a growing global public health menace because of its rapid spread from hospital settings into communities of healthy people,” says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “This is an evolving pathogen that in recent decades has developed resistance to common medical treatments and now is finding new mechanisms to spread and cause severe illness.” Bedbugs, A Growing Health Menace
“Over 90,000 people per year are developing life threatening infections caused by the drug resistant staph germ MRSA.” MRSA- Deadly Threat
While the jury is still out as to the ultimate effect of bed bug bites on society as a whole, a bed bug infestation should be treated seriously and quickly to prevent possible health risks for you and your family.
For more information about the health concerns of bed bugs, check out these links: