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Do bedbugs transmit diseases?

By Chris Williams on December 26, 2014.
bed bug on host

It is a great question. With their piercing/sucking mouthparts they certainly have the equipment to do so. Think about it for a moment. Bed Bugs are quick feeders like mosquitoes, which are notorious disease vectors (malaria, yellow fever, dengue, etc) and they may have multiple hosts throughout their lifetime. What if the bed bug that fed upon you in your hotel room last night (because you didn’t listen to me and check your room with a good strong flashlight!) fed upon someone infected with Hepatitis b or HIV last week? Will you all of a sudden test positive for a blood borne disease? It’s a creepy thought for sure, but after a century’s worth of research, the answer is still no. They have the ability to transmit HIV, MRSA, and all the Hepatitis strains, but thankfully, it does not happen.

A very interesting question that is being pondered is whether or not the human bed bug might ever adapt enough to become an efficient transmitter of Eastern Equine Encephalitis or other encephalitis causing viruses. Time will tell. For more information check out the article Bed Bugs and Infectious Disease: A Case for the Arboviruses.

Photo credit: Gilles San Martin / iWoman / CC BY-SA

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