These pests can make you terrified of sleeping with the lights off, and so the question comes to mind, “Are bed bugs dangerous?” This question demands the clarity on the intensity of problems that bed bugs can cause. Though severe itching caused by bedbugs is the common problem, bedbugs can be far more dangerous.
This itching can lead to serious secondary infection. They feed on warm blooded animals. While feeding they inject saliva into the skin. There are several species of bedbugs which feed on humans. These species are common and tropical bugs, poultry bugs and bat bugs.
Common Bed bug
Tropical bed bug
One of the several studies on bedbugs conducted by Department of Virology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa concludes that transmission of HIV is unlikely to occur in bed bug under normal conditions.
Few years back, a study proved that bedbug do play a role in transmitting Hepatitis B virus, but according to the WHO report, this hypothesis has been neglected by researchers in Gambia. This proves bedbugs are not transmitters of viruses.
Are Bed Bugs Dangerous? Yes, they are. Following facts proves it
- People who are exposed to the bedbug bites for the first time may suffer from intense itching, local inflammation and sleepless nights. Female bedbug are larger than males, and therefore the consumption of blood is higher in comparison to male bed bugs. This may lead to secondary infection if scratched.
- Secondary infection is a bacterial infection which causes further problems such as cellulitis, lymphangitis and ecthyma.
- Whereas for those who have previously been bitten several times, symptoms may not be too intense and severe.
- The World Health Organization reports, “In heavily infested houses where people may receive one hundred or more bites a night, it is possible that the blood loss causes mild anemia in infants”.
Bed bugs endemic areas
- They are not the transmitters of viruses and cannot be held responsible for contagious diseases, but still, they suck your blood. This can lead to several blood deficiency diseases such as anemia, hemophilia and many more.
- One of the major problems of bedbugs is that they can re-emerge anytime. For example, recurrence of bedbugs has been observed overseas and in Australia despite the use of a variety of insecticides and repellents. With every new bedbug outbreak, there comes a new repellent, pesticide and insecticide with new techniques. Still recurrence of bedbug outbreaks continues, which shows that besides poor sanitation there is definitely a different cause.
- Few cases have also shown an anaphylactic reaction. The shed skin of bed bugs can be an irritant that can cause an asthmatic reaction.
- Bedbugs may be vectors or transmitters for chagas disease(American trypanosomiasis) in endemic areas.
- The skin injury caused by them differs for every bug as it depends on the structure of their mouthparts and the body part on which they bite. The symptoms differ in every individual, so these factors determine whether bed bugs are dangerous to that individual or not.
- The common body parts bitten by these parasites are hands, neck, face, lower legs and arms. Papular urticaria is severe skin disorder caused by them where bullae rashes are occasionally severe.
- Several laboratories have found that bedbugs carry causative agents for plague, yellow fever, anthrax, typhus, relapsing fever and tularemia. It is also proved that they cannot carry them under normal condition.
- It is stated that while biting, bedbugs inject several pharmacologically active components. These substances are hyaluronidase, kinins and proteases. Now, proteases are the enzymes which can break protein bonds and thus destroy several protein structures in our body. This can damage blood proteins which can lead to further damage. Other components can lead to several skin reactions such as wheals, erythematic, hemorrhagic nodules and vesicles.
- Exposure to bedbugs leads to several psychological problems. Some victims of bedbugs are practicing cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Bedbugs are becoming a major problem in endemic areas such as New York, Colorado, Michigan and Ohio. They can be found almost anywhere. It is becoming difficult day by day to get rid of them. Under these circumstances, we must know how dangerous they are.