Bedbugs carry MRSA, study finds

May 18, 2011

As if just having bedbugs weren’t bad enough, researchers say theyrsquo;ve found the parasitic insects carrying methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, Time.com reports.

Vancouver, British Columbia - As if just having bedbugs weren’t bad enough, researchers say they’ve found the parasitic insects carrying methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, Time.com reports.

Scientists studied five bedbugs taken from three patients at Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital who were living in a neighborhood that has seen an increase in both bedbugs and MRSA in recent years. Looking for a connection, researchers crushed and analyzed the bugs and found three samples with MRSA.

The two other samples had vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium, or VRE, a less dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Investigators are not clear whether the bedbugs were carrying the bacteria externally or internally. Either way, as Time.com reports, if bedbugs are capable of carrying and transmitting MRSA the way a mosquito spreads malaria, it could represent a major new vector for human disease.

Time.com quotes Marc Romney, M.D., a study author and medical director of infection prevention and control at St. Paul's Hospital, as saying, “Even though this is a small study, it suggests that bedbugs may be playing a role in the transmission of MRSA in inner-city populations where bedbug infestations are a problem.”

Time.com also quotes Gail M. Getty, a research entomologist at the University of California, Berkeley, as saying, “To the best of my knowledge, we have not seen any research that has proven bedbugs have been able to pass diseases to their human hosts. Although they do carry pathogens, there is no single scientific study that has proven a transfer.”