Can Bed Bugs Spread MRSA?

This question is back in the news with renewed vigor. You may recall about a decade ago when some topics popped up in the headlines. Recent studies published results of some tests indicating that bed bugs could very likely contribute to spreading MRSA. This is incredibly alarming. Especially in high risk populations where MRSA may be significantly more dangerous. Hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities are at HIGH risk for bed bugs and MRSA.

The long standing opinion has been that bed bugs do NOT vector disease. Unlike roaches, mosquitoes and other pests that may pose a public health risk, bed bugs were essentially “safe”. They were a nuisance but not a public health concern. This lends to the lack of legislature and general overall public health concern when it comes to bed bugs. Thus why landlords, the healthcare industry and others can be pretty lax when it comes to a bed bug problem. They MUST deal with a public health issue, but bed bugs were “safe” and did not spread disease.

High Risk for Bed Bugs and MRSA

Certain scenarios are incredibly high risk for both bed bugs and MRSA. These are also the individuals that could be significantly impacted by a MRSA exposure and subsequent infection. MRSA is contagious and resistant to many antibiotic treatments. This makes it difficult to control, and in individuals with existing conditions, it can quite literally be deadly. Many of us have heard or experienced a situation with a loved one in a hospital or nursing facility had exposure to MRSA, and the ramifications can be devastating.

The study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases shows evidence that MRSA was present ON bed bugs, as well as within their blood from feeding.

In hospital and nursing home situations this is a recipe for disaster. This will mean that hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other medical and healthcare establishments will HAVE to deal with a bed bug problem. They will have to put preventative measures in place. If these studies confirm that bed bugs can spread MRSA and put other patients at risk – The ramifications will be fierce and swift. This also quite possibly contributes to the reported spikes in MRSA cases, given the spike and growing number of bed bug problems.

Bed Bug Prevention

No business or industry can prevent bed bugs from being brought in. There just is simply no way to 100% control your bed bug exposure. However, you can put preventative measures and proactive strategies in place.

For the health care industry this is often a combination –

  1. Employee training
  2. Establishing protocol
  3. Establishing an inspection and treatment regiment
  4. Using the right products for the situation

Our clients in the healthcare industry and care establishments like nursing homes and assisted living facilities have impressive success by implementing some very basic strategies.

We can’t predict the future and what the definitive results will be from these preliminary studies about bed bugs and MRSA.

We CAN state with certainty that preventative and proactive measures are effective. You can reduce your risk and protect your patients, your employees and your buildings.

This is very likely the beginning of the end of the way bed bugs have been treated over the years. We are certainly not legal or medical experts, but we are bed bug experts and we predict the tides will change.