According to an article scheduled to be released in the June 2011 issue of Energing Infectious Diseases, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public health journal, bedbugs were reportedly refound to carry Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Vancomyclin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE). Although bedbugs have not been shown to spread disease to date, Canadian researchers have now proven that they at least carry bacteria known to cause these sometimes hard-to-treat infections.
At this time, there is no clear evidence that the bedbugs have spread the MRSA or VRE germs they were carrying, but according to Dr. Marc Romney, a medical biologist with St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, “this is an intriguing finding” that needs to be further researched.
Five bedbugs were analyzed. MRSA was found in three of the bugs and VRE in two.
Romney also noted that the hospital is in an area of Vancouver that has recently seen a “boom in bedbugs” and a significant increase in MRSA cases.
Bedbugs are about 7 mm long, wingless and reddish brown in color and feed on the blood of their victims. Because they are so small, they are often hard to detect, and the situation is made worse because they commonly live in the cracks and crevices of mattresses.
In the past couple of years, finding ways to eradicate bedbugs has garnered considerable attention in the professional cleaning industry.
For instance, Michael Schaffer, president of Tornado Industries and a senior executive with Tacony’s Commercial Floor Care division, has authored several industry articles on the subject. He has also published a white paper, Effective Treatment of Bedbug Infestations, which suggests ways the jan/san industry can help eradicate bedbugs and do so in a more environmentally responsible manner.
“The study does not indicate exactly how the bedbugs picked up the bacteria, but this is definitely a concern,” says Schaffer. “In the past, bedbug bites were mostly bothersome. While more research is required, [this study] makes the bites far more serious.”