Scientists Discover Bedbugs Carrying MRSA Germ In Study

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Hate insects? Afraid of germs? Researchers are reporting an alarming combination: bedbugs carrying a staph “superbug.”

Canadian scientists detected drug-resistant staph bacteria in bedbugs from three hospital patients from a downtrodden Vancouver neighborhood.

Al Jones of 1010 WINS spoke with some tourists in Times Square about the finding.

1010 WINS’ Al Jones Speaks With Tourists In Times Square

Marie, who was visiting from Kentucky, said the thought of bedbugs made her skin crawl.

“I thought..why should they scare us? Maybe I should start getting scared,” she said.

Sofia said looking for the creepy, crawly critters was all a part of her routine, which includes checking bedding carefully before her head hits the pillow.

“I think about them, but we haven’t encountered any. We haven’t found any, but I think about them when we go,” she said.

Bedbugs have not been known to spread disease, and there’s no clear evidence that the five bedbugs found on the patients or their belongings had spread the MRSA germ they were carrying or a second less dangerous drug-resistant bacteria.

However, 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, noted Dr. Marc Romney, one of the study’s authors.

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.

The hospital is the closest one to the poor Downtown Eastside neighborhood near the city’s waterfront. Romney said he and his colleagues did the research after seeing a simultaneous boom in bedbugs and MRSA cases from the neighborhood.

Five bedbugs were crushed and analyzed. MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, was found on three bugs. MRSA is resistant to several types of common antibiotics and can become deadly if it gets through the skin and into the bloodstream.

Two bugs had VRE, or vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium, a less dangerous form of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Both germs are often seen in hospitals, and experts have been far more worried about nurses and other health care workers spreading the bacteria than insects.

It’s not clear if the bacteria originated with the bedbugs or if the bugs picked it up from already infected people, Romney added.

The study was released Wednesday by Emerging Infectious Diseases, a publication of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from Al Jones
  • kendra

    damn i am still trying to figure out if i have bedbugs cause i am always itching especially at night cause iwind up sleeping late in the morning cause i am so bothered by aLL OF THE ITCHING THAT goes on that comes with it to.

  • theBuckWheat

    Our EPA has forbidden effective pesticides for various bureaucratic reasons. I guess until MRSA spread by bedbugs threatens to harm the spotted owl, we won’t be able to stop this infestation.

  • The Evil Bender

    super cooties… probably from girls…

  • Ace

    A few years ago my wife and I contracted MRSA from mite bites that my son brought home from a gymnastics class. All three of us had been bitten by the mites
    and contracted MRSA. My daughter wasn’t bitten and never came down with the MRSA. I guess the mites can spread the MRSA to humans because they burrow deep in the skin and carry the staph bacteria with them. I don’t know if bedbug bites are deep enough to transmit the bacteria, but it seems possible.

  • gringo

    look closely under a microscope at any bed bugs head—- there is a remarkable resemblance to nancy pelosi

    • Mark D Ketchum

      look closely at your comment… there is a remarkable resemblance to stuff my 2 year old says.

  • 5ftflirt

    So can we re-legalize DDT yet?

    • Dawn

      We need DDT back again. Millions of people could be save from disease spreading bugs. The experiment they were bogus with no basis in reality.

    • victorako

      Thank you for that comment. We need DDT back, especially in the fight against malaria…

      • IncredulousJack

        … and also in our continuing fight against healthy babies and cancer-free adults …??

        Legalize DDT again? You’re kidding, right?

      • dude

        The manner in which DDT was banned was based on junk science. Check it out.

  • Jacklecerveau

    What woud one expect? You are talking about low life morons who are doing God knows what under those sheets!

    • Catherine

      Good on.

  • GF

    Bugs are coming to this country to seek better opportunities for themselves and their families. You “rightwingers” are just callous anti-bug buggists and that is shameful. Bugs have rights too, and are doing things that humans wont do.

  • zagwee

    Wow thats kinda crazy dude. Wow.

  • MitchellF

    Humans “carry” numerous types of staph viruses on their skin…..Some of it is resistant to all antibiotics…That is one cause of the flesh eating virus..It is just a matter of percentages…if you cut yourself and the wrong viruse takes a foothold you can have a bad time..The same with the bedbugs….If the wrong one bites you I guess you can get the resistant stapph strain. I am not sold on the AIDS issue but I am not saying it is out of the question. I have just never heard that as a source before.

    • SB

      Staph is a bacteria not a virus. Antibiotics are effective only against bacteria.

      I don’t know what you mean by “I am not sold on the AIDS issue” but I do believe that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • anthony

    All I can say is they have everything you need Naturally to stop these bugs before you have a problem.

  • TomR

    So, can we restart indoor spraying of DDT now? Or do we wait until a few thousand people are dead..

  • nathan

    At least use your real name. You always were a coward.

  • Yukkione

    Why don’t you go have cake and cookies in the lobby with the other kids. The adults are talking.

  • Rakeem


  • Tony Darbo

    bedbugs have been known to carry over 15 pathogens….do not think for a second that they are just an annoying little bug.

  • paul

    Yoggoth you are misinformed bedbugs can carry AIDS and HIV but they do not spread it from one person to the next

    • Dano

      Yes, they do, you idiot! I got AIDS from a bedbug.

    • Yoggoth

      If they can carry enough infected blood, and they are squashed into an open would, you can’t say it’s impossible to transmit.

    • ONTIME

      Any insect or animal that has been exposed to a virus, bacteria or pathogen can spread that item to you andyou to others…….natures way of equalizing the species.

    • Dreamtime

      Paul, YOU are misinformed, if bed bugs can spread MRSA they can spread AIDS. When the virus first broke out I called CDC and asked them about mosquitos transmitting the virus and they denied it. Liars. Now we know that mosquitos can spread the virus. “According to Jonathan F. Day, of the University of Florida’s Medical Entomology Laboratory, insects can transmit viruses in two ways, mechanically and biologically. With mechanical transmission, infected blood on the insect’s mouthparts might be carried to another host while the blood is still fresh and the virus is still alive. Infection by this means is possible but highly unlikely, because mosquitoes seldom have fresh blood on the outside of their mouthparts.” All blood sucking insects are capable of spreading diease, viruses and germs and are a threat. You can get AIDS from a used infected hyperdermic needle, and you can get AIDS from an infected stinger that has blood on it. Geez does common sense escape you?

  • Malachi

    Bed bugs were becoming resistant to bed bugs back before it was banned.

    • Isaac Bickerstaff


  • Yoggoth

    There is a lot of misinformation here. First of all, bedbugs can carry the AIDS virus. Secondly, they are cap[able of transmitting it.

    • Naomi Hawthorne

      They transmit the AIDS virus to other bedbugs via anal intercourse. Saw it on Nova last week.

      • Powersource

        If these bedbugs would quit with the unprotected anal sex maybe they would not be such a hazard for spreading AIDS to other bedbugs and would therefore pose less of a threat to humans……..NOVA is never wrong!


    I think I prefer DDT exposure than bedbugs with staph. DDT kills all bugs

    • Malachi

      Bed bugs were becoming resistant to DDT back before it was banned. Many cases have been noted that prove DDT may not be the cure all anymore. They have become resistant to many of today’s insecticides as well.

      • Isaac Bickerstaff

        First, I don’t believe this assertion is in the least true.

        Second, even if it were true, I believe that the resistance would probably no longer be present after so many generations.

        My exterminator tells me that BBs are not resistant to current treatments at all, but they are able to detect their presence and merely wait for the chemicals to dissipate. BBs can survive without feeding for more that a year.

        Current pesticides are made of crushed flowers. Modern chemistry has many more tools them just crushed flowers. But fanatical environmentalists are against using them on what are basically religious grounds. The real question is why we let these fanatics have any say in the matter.

        Some practice or compound got rid of BBs all those decades ago. Time to get serious about a repeat performance.

      • NOZZLE

        Bed bugs are not resistant to DDT, that is a new lie perpetuated by liberal filth who basically want a world with no chemicals because of course intelectual progress is enbarrassing to muslims and other turd world garbage.

      • PowerPC

        DDT was not the demon the environmentalist whackos made it out to be. DDT was blamed for nearly every insect, mammal and bird on the endangered species list. How many thousands of cases of Malaria have been diagnosed since DDT was discontinued?….DDT did its job on mosquitos but the animals and insects were more important than thousands and thousands of humans, even though the risk to the animals was and is questionable at best and completely absurd in reality..

  • Alien Princess

    Clever bio-hazard weapon, Earthlings. Bed-bug soldiers spreading flesh-eating bacteria. The only place these creatures cannot live is in ice. Freezing them and all you own is the only way to kill them and their eggs. Let’s all hope for a SNOWBALL Earth to arrive soon so the Sumerian Aliens can implant brain-altering devices into whatever thaws out and will be capable to evolve into a creature who doesn’t kill others based on theology and mandated laws defining creature-(human)-doctrined morality.

    • Sharon Snyder

      Not true! bedbugs and their eggs can be killed by temperatures held for 4 hours over 117 degrees

      • Prof. Frink

        I heard that you can microwave them on high for 45 seconds. Just remember to clean out the microwave afterward as they can explode.

    • rahoul

      um this isnt infowars you shouldnt sound that crazy on legitimate news websites

  • SockRayBlue

    Well, how do you suppose these bugs were brought into this country? Perhaps if TSA were cross trained to find unwanted bugs along with human predators we could get our monies worth.

    Sort of sounds like death from a thousand cuts don’t it?

  • desert

    sounds like a govt stunt to me, just like the a.h’s put out lsd!

  • Dan

    DDT isn’t a solution – all bugs are resistant to it as well as to many other pesticides. DDT just kills animals and causes disease in humans. Is there something really effective but also safe?

    • Louise

      Yes – Greenbug! It is all natural using cedar as the active ingredient. Like cedar chests and closets – cedar is deadly to bugs so they’ll die or stay away. Smells good and works like a charm! I get it online at and always order extra for friends. Can’t see why it’s not everywhere because it works – I have witnessed it!

      • Paul

        You can’t make a mattress out of cedar – stupid idea.

      • Courtney Love

        I always stuff a handful of cedar chips into my undies to help keep my undercarriage free of crawling nasties.

    • Paul

      More DDT propaganda from Dan. Since DDT has been banned, millions of people worldwide have died from Malaria and Dengue Fever. Banning DDT did more harm than good.

    • Isaac Bickerstaff

      I don’t believe a single statement of Dan’s is true, but I don’t blame Dan for it. This sort of misinformation is widespread.

  • Roddy Piper

    Don’t let the bed bugs bite!

  • Darrell

    Mu university receives a huge flux of Asians each sesmester and bed bugs are a serious problem. Nice as my neighbors are, I mever meet them in my dorm room and don’t go to theirs either. Sounds prejudiced, I know, but it is the truth, before the influx bedbugs were not a problem at all.

    • asianbug

      Oh now I know where those bed bugs went , I just keep my room clean wash my linensat least once a weekn..

  • Louise

    I am NOT surprised! A creature that sucks blood from one human to the next is bound to spread something! I travel quit a bit and have found bed bugs several times but have found the solution! Its called Greenbug for People. A natural, safe product I can carry on a plane. I spray my luggage down before flying (luggage compartments are a great place to get bed bugs!) and when I get to a hotel, I inspect carefully while lightly applying Greenbug. It kills AND repels so I can sleep soundly. I had thought of changing jobs I was so freaked out but now I know I am safe. Great stuff that Greenbug!

  • Jeremy

    mattress covers do not protect you, they protect the mattress. Mattress liners (ActiveGuard) can be used to be proactive against bed bugs.

  • zagwee

    Wow, OK that is downright scary when you think about it.

    • Dreamtime

      What’s scarier is that our Hospitals are now the breeding grounds for super bacteria, germs, and BUGS! And healthcare workers are now the new Typhoid Mary’s.

  • John Fiorella

    Get out the DDT.

  • B

    Sleep in an alcohol hammock soaked every evening, run the bug killer sounds night and day through your ipod, resist urge to scratch…

  • Mikey

    My life for you. Bumpity bumpity bump.

    • ken

      Ha, Mikey! CIBOLAAAAAAA!

  • Rufus Leaking

    can you get them from kissing a toilet seat?

  • Bob Komarek

    Now the superbug has found a perfect vector point.

    This may get very very serious indeed.

  • Brian

    rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle is your best friend when fighting bedbugs!

  • Jack

    Nothing like the dirty thrid world coming to you. ever make the connection.

  • Emily Nghiem

    If I you fear you may have bedbugs in your space, I was told you need to clean all areas with rubbing alcohol which dries out the eggs. Is this correct? You have to clean/vacuum regularly, get rid of any materials that may have eggs in them; and not buy any clothes, furniture or other items from resale or previously owned or used to avoid any risk of getting from other people.

    • Louise

      Or you can use Greenbug on all purchases (it doesn’t stain or leave a residue) but it kills adults as well as eggs. People who get rid of everything don’t need to! I brought some home with me on my luggage from Ohio once, sprayed Greenbug throughout my bedroom 3 times one week and NEVER had any additional problems.

  • richardporter

    Are these the same scientists that claim man is responsible for climate change?

    • Yerkel

      Probably not. Different vocational groups.

  • Sean Gerety

    Bring back DDT. Either that or require Eco-fascists to spend a night in a bed-bug ridden hotel.

  • Norm Balog

    I think I’m already seeing this in practice. I have seen several handfuls of patients in the past year or two who insist they were bitten by a bug, or many bugs, and what I diagnosed and treated them for was CA-MRSA cellulitis and/or abscesses. I have suspected bedbugs may be carriers but this is the first time I’ve seen clear evidence. This is a game-changer for sure.

    • B Polus

      Cubicin is the injection for controlling/stopping MRSA. See CBST stock ticker….. God Bless and hope patients are protected against this MRSA Superbug! BP

  • Roddy Piper

    Bedbug Eddie?

  • JayJay

    Now the media surge on bedbug infestation last year makes sense. It was stage 1. Here is stage 2. Engaging in psychological warfare on your fellow man is bad, guys.

    • Regulas

      The media has an agenda run by the government. Bed bugs here, mosquitos in Africa were almost wiped out until they banned DDT. Now millions die of malaria each year and the tree huggers want to give out condoms, they are called the loony left for a reason.

      • Dan

        Just an FYI, DDT is NOT banned in Africa and is still manufactured in the US for sales to multiple third world countries. The mosquitoes are becoming resistant as they would to all synthetic pesticides eventually.

      • Isaac Bickerstaff

        I believe this is an untrue statement.

  • concernedcitizen

    are these the same thing as pubic lice?

    • Some Dude

      No, those are called crabs

  • Jose Nuni Alomar

    Mattress covers don’t avoid you from getting them. Thats all them infomerciales making Americans spend money. If anything they just protect the mattress but what about the rest of the living quarters. Do a bit of research.

  • Gary

    An easy way to avoid infestation of your mattress and boxspring and therefore avoiding getting bitten is to use an encasement on your mattress and boxspring. It prevents harborage and makes for easy quick inspection.

    • ham07

      so they are not in your mattress then they live in your clothes or dresser or floorboard or the corner of your floor and wall. Then what, they still feed when you sleep. At least your mattress will be spared. They can live on other surfaces besides mattresses you know.

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