Scientists have been shocked by recent findings that show bed bugs are carriers of superbugs, as they previously thought animals were able to spread infections.
The study was carried out in the Downtown Eastside area of Vancouver in Canada where bed bug infestations are common along with high rates of poverty, HIV and drug use.
Five bug beds were taken off three patients who were receiving hospital treatment and tests revealed they were infected with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) and Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus Faecium (VRE).
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However, it was not clear if the bed bugs infected the patients or vice-versa and the study has called for further research into the matter.
MRSA is an infection which is being seen increasingly in hospitals across the world; if it enters the bloodstream it can be fatal.
VRE is a type of bacteria that lives on the skin and in the intestines and it causes serious health problems for people who have weakened immune systems.
MRSA and VRE are both commonly-seen infections at the St Pauls Hospital in Vancouver and the rise of bed bug infestations is on the increase across North America and Western Europe.
Meanwhile, 31 percent of people living in the Downtown Eastside area of Vancouver have reported bed bug infestations.
Dr Marc Romney, a medical biologist at the hospital, thought it was necessary to see if the two are related.
Talking about the findings, he said: “I was a little surprised. Historically, bedbugs have not been associated with infections.”
“The data is preliminary, but it suggests maybe there is an association,” he added.
“Maybe it is yet another factor that could be responsible for this large increase in resistant bacteria in inner cities in North America.”