New research suggests bedbugs might be also be carriers of drug-resistant bacteria, or superbugs.
Researchers at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver discovered a sample of bedbugs taken from three different hospital patients yielded MRSA or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
“It suggests that bedbugs do carry this bacteria,” said Dr. Marc Romney. “But it is not clear if it can be transmitted.”
MRSA is resistant to several antibiotics and can be deadly if it gets through the skin or into the bloodstream. The latest findings are significant because it shows that these bugs are not just harmless pests, as long believed, but could be carriers of deadly bacteria.
"We haven't shown definitively that bedbugs can transmit resistant bacteria,” said Romney. “But it would be a bit of a leap that they could cause MRSA infections. More studies need to be done.”
Dr. Romney said his team decided to investigate a link when about five years ago, they noticed there was an increase in MRSA infections in downtown Vancouver around the same time that bedbugs were having a resurgence.
It’s not clear if the bedbugs were already carrying the deadly bacteria or if the bugs picked it up from already infected patients. This newest information comes as experts predict bedbug infestations could hit a high in the next few months.
"I definitely think this summer might be the worst one yet,” said Jeffrey White, a bedbug researcher.