Reviewed by: Dr. Michael Payne, MD; London Health Sciences Centre
Bed bugs have previously been implicated in the transmission of MRSA, however, experimental confirmation of their competence as a MRSA vector has been lacking. This study fed bed bugs blood through a membrane contaminated with MRSA, at a typical concentration found on human skin. They then measured the amount of viable MRSA present externally and internally over 7 days. They determined whether bed bugs colonized with MRSA could transmit MRSA to an uncontaminated membrane when taking a second blood meal 7 days later. Bed bugs were found to acquire MRSA both externally and internally when feeding, with MRSA colonization persisting for seven days in some bed bugs. They found bed bugs were able to transmit MRSA to an uncontaminated membrane in two out of three trials. These results provide the first experimental support for the hypothesis that bed bugs may contribute to the transmission of MRSA in some settings. The method of transmission (Blood/saliva versus surface of Bed Bug) was not evaluated in this study. This was an in vitro simulation, with further clinical and epidemiological studies needed to determine transmission dynamics in a real-world setting.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases, jiad302, July 31, 2023. https://doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiad302.