Canadian scientists have an intriguing finding that bedbugs are carrying a superbug, a drug-resistant germ. Three hospital patients in Vancouver sick with staph bacteria led investigators to find five bedbugs among the patients belongings that carried MRSA, a dangerous bacteria. The report in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases includes studies by Dr. Marc Romney and Dr. Stephen Hwang, providing clear evidence that bedbugs in North America may be transmitting a superbug, as well as other contagious diseases.

Bedbug superbug

MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, was found in three in the five bedbugs associated with three patients at the St. Paul′s Hospital in Vancouver. Two of the bedbugs had VRE, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium, a somewhat lesser bacteria that is also resistant to some common antibiotics. Both of these germs are often found in hospitals and are a constant concern. Particularly with patients recovering from surgery where there had been an open wound. Once either bacteria enters a patient′s bloodstream, it could further complicate the patient′s recovery.

More research is needed to determine if the bedbugs were infected by another patient, or if they became infected through other sources. The real threat here is that those exposed to the bedbugs may begin scratching themselves and cause a break in the skin where the bacteria could enter the patient′s body. The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention is now alerted to this potential threat. The CDC even has a special website for MRSA, due to its seriousness.

That there may now be a link between bedbugs and superbugs could prove important to preventing further cases of MRSA and VRE. The study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases by Dr. Marc Romney and Dr. Stephen Hwang show how three hospital patients in Vancouver have have contracted a drug-resistant superbug from five bedbugs found in the personal belongings. While these cases were only in Vancouver, a closer look at other cases throughout North America could be useful in reducing further infections of these dangerous bacteria.

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