Health Considerations

Abou Gamra, E. M., F. A. el Shayed, T. A. Morsy, H. M. Hussein, and E. S. Shehata. 1991. The relation between Cimex lectularius antigen and bronchial asthma in Egypt. Journal of the Egyptian Society of Parasitology 21(3): 735–746.

Groups of asthmatic and non-asthmatic individuals were tested for their sensitivity to several common inhaled antigens that cause allergic reactions including two extracts from bed bugs.  The asthmatic group had more individuals with positive reactions to the bed bug extracts than the control group.

Adam, K., G. R. Needham, K. M. Neyman, and W. A. Highs. 2009. Bedbugs. Dermatologic Therapy 22: 347–352.

A literature review of the current knowledge regarding human reactions to bed bug bites and diagnosis of bites.

Barbarin, A. M., B. Hu, I. Nachamkin, and M. Z. Levy. 2014. Colonization of Cimex lectularius with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Environmental Microbiology 16: 1222–1224.

Researchers investigated the potential for bed bugs to transmit methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) to humans. Results indicated that the bed bug midgut was capable of maintaining the bacteria for up to 9 days, but the bacteria did not replicate within that environment. Therefore, it is unlikely that bed bugs can transmit MRSA to humans

CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). 2011. Acute illnesses associated with insecticides used to control bed bugs–seven states, 2003–2010. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 60(37): 1269–1274.

Researchers analyzed records of severe illness associated with insecticides used for bed bug control includingd cases from 2003–2010 that were reported by 12 states participating in the Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupation Risks (SENSOR) Pesticide program as well as the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH). Seven of twelve states reported cases of severe illness—of 111 total cases, 90 cases were determined to be of low severity and 99 cases were associated with improper applications of insecticides.


Aak, A., B. a. Rukke, A. Soleng, and M. K. Rosnes. 2014. Questing activity in bed bug populations: male and female responses to host signals. Physiological Entomology doi: 10.1111/phen.12062.

Sex differences in bed bug behavioral responses to a stimulus (human host or carbon dioxide gas) were observed. Compared to males, female bed bugs responded more strongly to the human host signal, were more active while acclimating to a new environment, had quicker responses after feeding, and were exposed for longer periods of time during the day.

Geographic Distribution

Goddard, J. 2011. Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius L.) in Mississippi: survey of the scope, extent, and control of the problem. Midsouth Entomologist 4: 57–62.

A survey was conducted of entomologists at the Mississippi Department of Health as well as licensed pest control personnel throughout Mississippi requesting information on the number of bed bug infestations, location of infestations, and control methods used during a 6-month period (1 September 2010 through 28 February 2011). A total of 179 bed bug infestations were reported, but the cases were not evenly distributed in Mississippi. Pesticides, primarily pyrethroids, were the main products used for bed bug control.