Bedbugs Plus MRSA Should Not Equal Panic
Researchers in Vancouver have found bedbugs with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, or MRSA. Sounds scary, right?
Yes, the researchers found MRSA in three of the five bugs they tested. But before we all panic about bedbugs being carriers of MRSA, let’s look at a few facts. All three of the MRSA-bedbugs were from the same area in Vancouver where MRSA is already a problem. And the researchers admitted that they hadn’t determined if the disease was transmitted from the bugs to the people or the other way around. According to the Centers for Disease Control, when discussing transmission of MRSA, “Even if surfaces have MRSA on them, this does not mean that you will definitely get an infection if you touch these surfaces.” Additionally, even though bedbugs are disgusting creatures, no evidence exists that supports that they transmit any disease to humans.
Both problems, bedbug infestations and the spread of MRSA infections, are compounded by crowding and unsanitary conditions, so could these actually be two separate problems in the Downtown Vancouver area that were coincidentally found together?
We all certainly want to avoid an infestation of bedbugs and none of us wants an MRSA infection, but let’s look at each of these problems individually.
Problem #1 – Bedbugs
Bedbugs are a growing problem in hotels, apartments, dorm rooms, delivery vehicles, dry cleaners, prison, churches, cruise ships, furniture rental stores, and private homes. The chemical DDT had nearly eradicated them after World War II, but now that we are such a mobile society, world travelers have helped a more resilient bedbug resurface and since 1995 infestations have been on the rise again.
The bugs can arrive in your home, hotel or even hospital through a variety of means including:
• being brought in on infested items (such as clothing, luggage or furniture)
• riding in on pets or wild animals (bats, birds)
• routes like ductwork or false ceilings especially in dorms, apartments or military barracks