Psychological Effects of Bed Bug Attacks (Cimex lectularius L.)
ABSTRACT In some individuals, psychological sequelae resulting from bed bug biting events include nightmares, flashbacks, hypervigilance (to keep the bugs away), insomnia, anxiety, avoidance behaviors, and personal dysfunction. These symptoms are suggestive of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
We used a previously published PTSD checklist to analyze online blogs and other Internet sites where bed bug postings occur to assess postings for evidence of emotional trauma.
One hundred thirty-five postings were read and analyzed, and 110 (81%) of those postings reported psychological effects from bed bug infestations. Scoring with the PTSD checklist revealed a range of 0-52 (mean 13.25; SD 9.38); one met the criteria (≥50) considered positive for PTSD.
Based upon our survey of online postings concerning such effects, an as-yet-to-be-determined proportion of individuals who experience bed bug bites develop moderate-to-severe negative emotional symptoms after infestations. These individuals should be identified in the course of their interactions with health professionals so that appropriate mental health care may be provided.
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ABSTRACT: Many hematophagous arthropods are stimulated by blood constituents to initiate feeding. We used a membrane-based feeding system to identify chemicals that stimulate acceptance and engorgement responses in various life stages of bed bugs. Water was fortified with a variety of compounds (e.g. salts, amino acids, vitamins, nucleotides, cholesterol and fatty acids) in these bioassays. Adenosine triphosphate was the most effective phagostimulant in adults and nymphs, resulting in >70% of bed bugs fully engorging. Addition of NaCl to low ATP solutions that alone elicited <50% engorgement significantly enhanced feeding responses of bed bugs. A comparison of feeding responses with solutions of various adenine nucleotides showed that ATP was more stimulatory than ADP, which was more effective than AMP. Feeding assays with physiological levels of other blood constituents such as D-glucose, albumin, globulin, cholesterol and mixtures of vitamins and amino acids did not stimulate engorgement, suggesting that adenine nucleotides are the most important feeding stimulants in bed bugs. Identification of phagostimulants for bed bugs will contribute toward the development of artificial diets for rearing purposes as well as for the development of alternative methods to eliminate bed bug infestations.Journal of Experimental Biology 11/2013; 217(4). DOI:10.1242/jeb.096727 · 3.00 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: There has been a worldwide resurgence of bedbug infestations. Bites by these insects may cause mild or severe cutaneous reactions, and anaphylaxis has been reported. Little is known about the most severe cutaneous reactions, termed bullous or complex reactions. To study the time course and histopathologic findings of complex (bullous) cutaneous reactions to bedbugs in order to determine the optional treatment for them. We prospectively photographed bullous reactions to observed bedbug bites at 30 minutes; 6, 12, 24, 36, 48, and 72 hours; 1, 2, 3, and 4 weeks, and biopsied reactions at 30 minutes, and 6, 12, and 24 hours. We also reviewed Internet postings and the available medical literature on bullous reactions after bedbug bites. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Correlations between clinical and histologic findings using both routine and immunofluorescent techniques. Bullous reactions to bedbugs are not rare. Of 357 photographs of bedbug bites posted on the Internet, 6% were bullous. In an individual with previous bullous reactions, experimental bedbug bites were associated with a progression of cutaneous responses at bite sites from immediate, pruritic, edematous lesions to a late-in-time macule, which evolved into bullous reactions by 24 hours. Bullous lesions eventually lysed but took weeks to heal. Histopathologic evaluation of bullous reactions showed a polymorphous picture with histologic evidence of an urticarial-like reaction early on that rapidly developed into a hybrid leukocytoclastic vasculitis. This vasculitis was initially neutrophilic but developed into a destructive, necrotizing, eosinophil-rich vasculitis with prominent infiltration of CD 68+ histiocytes and collagen necrobiosis. This histologic picture is similar to the dermal vasculitis in patients with Churg-Strauss vasculitis. Historically, bedbug bite reactions have been considered to be of minor medical significance. However, the findings presented here demonstrate that the not-uncommon bullous reactions to bedbug bites reflect the presence of a local, highly destructive, cutaneous vasculitis. The histologic features of these reactions resemble those occurring in the Churg-Strauss syndrome. Therefore, efforts to prevent further bites and monitor for evidence of systemic vasculitis should be made in patients with bullous reactions to bedbug bites. Topical treatment with high potency corticosteroids may be useful in the treatment of bullous reactions.The American journal of medicine 05/2012; 125(7):688-94. DOI:10.1016/j.amjmed.2011.11.020 · 5.30 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Currently, bed bugs are one of the most pressing "vector" issues in pest control and environmental health, with increasing reports of the blood-sucking pest being reported in hotels, apartments, and single-family dwellings. Negative health effects from their bites include emotional distress (anxiety, insomnia, and perhaps even Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-like symptoms), nuisance bites and their associated cutaneous reactions, anemia, and potential disease transmission. Although bed bugs have been found naturally infected with a variety of disease agents, they have not been conclusively proven to transmit these organisms. Pest management professionals and environmental health specialists are on the front line of the bed bug battle, often being asked to investigate cases in private homes and apartments, as well as in public places such as hotels, hospitals, and schools. Compounding the issue is the fact that bat bugs may infest these places as well, especially if there are bats roosting in them (Usinger 1966). Bat bugs such as Cimex pipistrelli (Europe), Cimex pilosellus (western US), and Cimex adjunctus (entire eastern US) may sometimes bite people visiting or residing near the nesting or roosting sites of these species. Treatment/eradication strategies for bat bugs differ from that of bed bugs, and mainly involve solving the bat problem (not lethally, but by exclusion). Although bat bugs may occasionally bite humans, the bugs are not well-adapted to feeding on people. Bat bugs appear macroscopically identical to bed bugs, but closer examination can reveal differences. This article compares and contrasts identification of the bed bug, Cimex lectularius, and the commonly-encountered bat bug, Cimex adjunctus, and provides comments on treatment and control of each.Outlooks on Pest Management 06/2012; 23(3). DOI:10.1564/23jun09