do bed bugs carry diseasesAs if bed bugs didn’t seem icky enough, recent studies are uncovering these critters can actually spread certain diseases. Newspaper headlines around the country have fueled the concern. But, is there a reason to be worried – do bed bugs carry diseases?

Answering the question, “Do Bed Bugs Carry Diseases?”

The Los Angeles Times was one of many media outlets to report on this possibility. A researcher at Purdue University quoted in the article confirmed that bed bugs do carry diseases, stating, “At least 27 agents of human disease have been found in bed bugs, including viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and parasitic worms.” However, researches have also concluded that these diseases are not transmitted to humans through bites or contact with infected bed bug feces.

A Response to the Concern

The Canadian report raises concerns that it’s theoretically possible for bed bugs to transmit diseases, which does raise the panic level for some – especially in light of the recent growth of the bed bug population. However, there are some important points to note as compiled by the National Pest Management Association and reported by Pest Control Technology Magazine:

  • There is no conclusive evidence from this study, or others that date back through at least the last decade, that bed bugs can replicate or transmit diseases to human beings.
  • More scientific research is needed to understand bed bug biology.
  • Approximately 1 in 5 Americans comes into contact with bed bugs so there is an urgency to learning how to prevent and treat this contact.
  • Pest control companies state that bed bugs are some of the most challenging pests to treat and prevent.

While there is no clear reason to think that diseases can be transmitted by bed bugs, the publicity around such a possibility has caused concern among many. However, it is hoped that this fear might also generate more interest, inspiring individuals and governments to take a proactive stance against bed bugs to stem the escalating infestations around the country.

In Summary

In summarizing the recent publicity and panic of those wondering about bed bug diseases:

  • Bed bugs have been found to carry many diseases but there has been no conclusive proof that they replicate or transmit these diseases to humans.
  • More research is needed to understand the growing bed bug infestation, including more information about bed bug biology and life cycles.
  • The recent publicity is helpful to get more people and governments thinking about helping isolate and stop bed bugs around the country.

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