WEDNESDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- Bedbugs carrying two types
of drug-resistant bacteria have been found by Canadian researchers,
an alarming discovery in light of the resurgence of bedbugs in
North America and Western Europe over the past 10 years.
The researchers tested five bedbugs collected from three
hospital patients from an area of Vancouver, British Columbia known
as Downtown Eastside, which has high rates of poverty,
homelessness, HIV/AIDS and injection drug use.
The bedbugs were found to be carrying methicillin-resistant
Staphylococcus aureus(MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant
The report appears in the June issue of the journal
Emerging Infectious Diseases, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Like many cities worldwide, Vancouver has experienced a major
increase in bedbugs, especially in Downtown Eastside, where nearly
a third of the residents report infestations. The phenotype of the
MRSA found in the bedbugs is identical to that found in tests of
many Eastside patients with MRSA infections (also a substantial
problem in the community), according to the report.
These findings suggest that bedbugs may act as a "hidden
environmental reservoir" that promotes the spread of MRSA in
overcrowded and impoverished communities, the researchers said in a
CDC news release.
"Further studies are needed to characterize the association between S. aureus and bedbugs. Bedbug carriage of MRSA, and the
portal of entry provided through feeding, suggests a plausible
potential mechanism for passive transmission of bacteria during a
blood meal," the researchers wrote.
"Because of the insect's ability to compromise the skin integrity of its host, and the propensity for S. aureus to invade damaged skin, bedbugs may serve to
amplify MRSA infections in impoverished urban communities," they
Bedbugs might also help transmit VRE, the researchers added.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has more about