Let's Panic: Bedbugs Found Infected with 'Superbug' Germ

Once just itchy, now they can carry drug-resistant diseases

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Bedbugs have had quite the comeback over the last few years, infesting the Empire State Building, New York movie theaters, hotels, and lots of houses and apartments nationwide. Traditionally, these pests live in your linens and furniture and bite you at night, making you itchy and unpopular but not seriously ill. Now, scientists in Canada have found some of the parasites infected with a drug-resistant staph "superbug."

The five infected bugs were found on hospital patients from a "downtrodden Vancouver neighborhood," and don't represent a very scientifically viable sample. But the finding was reported in a peer-reviewed study, so it's at least sound. It doesn't clarify whether the infection is carried on the outside of the bugs, or actually takes hold inside their systems, "which would suggest the possibility of biological transmission, researchers said" to The Washington Post.

"But even if the bugs were carrying the bacteria on their exteriors, the finding is still significant, [Study author Marc] Romney said, because bedbugs could spread the germ from person to person, especially in crowded settings such as the homeless shelters where these patients were living in downtown Vancouver," The Washington Post reported.

Bedbugs: Itchy, hard to get rid of, stigmatizing, and now potentially infectious.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.