Bedbugs can carry drug resistant bacteria

May 11, 2011 at 10:20 PM

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 11 (UPI) -- Drug-resistant bacteria, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant enterococci, were found in bedbugs, Canadian researchers say.

Dr. Marc G. Romney of St. Paul's Hospital/Providence Health Care in Vancouver, British Columbia, and colleagues collected five bedbugs and tested them for drug-resistant organisms and bacterial colonies were identified by using conventional and automated microbiological methods.

For two patients, VRE was isolated from one bedbug each, which were also resistant to the antibiotics ampicillin, teicoplanin and aminoglycosides. For one patient, MRSA was isolated from three bedbugs.

Romney says Vancouver has experienced an alarming increase in bedbugs, particularly in downtown Eastside, where 31 percent of residents have reported bedbug infestation.

Although bedbugs have not been shown to spread disease, the researchers say bedbugs at least carry bacteria known to cause these sometimes hard-to-treat infections. However, the researchers say they don't know if the bacteria originated with the bedbugs or if the bedbugs were infected from the already infected people.

During the past 10 years in North America and western Europe, bedbugs have re-emerged, and while the resurgence is unclear, large bedbug infestations have been attributed to increased worldwide travel, altered insecticide management and increased resistance to pesticides, the researchers say.

The findings are scheduled to be published in the June issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

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