MRSA Detected in Bedbugs: Should Parents Be Concerned?Danielle Sullivan
Last year’s bedbug invasion sent itches around the country, particularly in New York City. Here we had bedbugs in schools, movie theaters, department stores, and more. In my child’s school, movies were banned as school trips for a while since our local theaters had an infestation. Even after the theaters were deemed clean and bedbug-free, some of the parents in my son’s school had their children bring black, plastic garbage bags to cover the movie theater seat before they sat in it. Today’s news that bedbugs in Vancouver were found to carry the MRSA bacteria will surely cause even more worry, but how dangerous is this new finding and should parents be overly concerned?
Canadian scientists detected Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus inside some bed bugs in Vancouver. MRSA is a bacterial infection that is highly resistant to antibiotics. On GoodDayNY this morning, Jeffrey White, a research entomologist said, “Bedbugs have long been suspected to have the ability to mechanically transmit bacteria from one host to another. The results of this study shed more light on this being a possibility, but additional research needs to be conducted to understand the true impact of these findings.”
According to the Huffington Post, it’s the scratching caused by the bites that may be part of the problem:
“Bedbugs can cause itching that can lead to excessive scratching. That can cause breaks in the skin that make people more susceptible to these germs,” said Dr. Marc Romney, one of the study’s authors, noting that the study is small and very preliminary. “But it’s an intriguing finding” that needs to be further researched, said Romney, medical microbiologist at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.
So what does that mean for parents who are already concerned about bedbugs spreading like wildfire this summer? I think we need to be cautious. Nobody wants a bedbug infestation in their home. It can be a nightmare. The news that they may carry the MRSA doesn’t really make me any more scared, but even without the MRSA connection, I am no less wary about having them in my home. Should we worry more about this new finding and cover our kids with Saran Wrap? No, but you won’t catch me patronizing public places where they are found either.
Experts say they expect this summer to see a large resurgence of the insects, especially in July, August, and September. They also point out that the bedbugs found to have MRSA in Vancouver were discovered in a very “downtrodden” neighborhood and people should not worry about MRSA in their own homes, but places such as homeless shelters might be more concerned.
Last year, I admit I did visit the bedbug registry and did find a bunch of places near me that were reported to have bedbugs, and I stayed away from them. But most of the locations were actually private residences. I will probably check this site again (most likely as soon as I finish writing this) because a little awareness can’t hurt. Not to mention, I’m feeling a little itchy already.
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