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New research shows bed bugs are not disease spreaders

The research of two Mississippi medical professionals — Dr. Richard deShazo and Dr. Jerome Goddard — brought the nation some welcome news in 2009: Bed bugs leave nasty bites that are hard to treat but no evidence exists to indicate they spread disease.

Tiny bed bugs will suck your blood but do they carry disease?

Their article appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association and landed them a spot on NBC’s “The Today Show.”

Until the review by deShazo, chairman of the University of Mississippi Medical Center Department of Medicine, and Goddard, a Mississippi State University an entomology professor, little was known about the risks associated with bed bug bites.

Three months ago, deShazo and Goddard published a paper in the American Journal of Medicine on treating the blistering psychological effects of bed bug attacks.

In the 2009 article, their research determined bed bugs do not transmit dangerous diseases such as HIV or hepatitis. Even today, though, deShavo is not entirely sure the parasitic bed bugs are entirely free of pathogens.

“We have to keep a close eye on this,” he said.

One problem in assessing bed bug bites, according to deShazo, is that many bite victims have no reaction at all. Many others will get only a brief itch.

But “people who develop allergies to them or are bit repetitively get these skins reactions that persist for weeks.

“We use to miss them because it was such an unusual thing. But now we look for them when people come in with a rash.”

He estimates that around 40 percent of bite victims have some kind of irritation reaction. Fortunately for the victims, no reports of post-bite lethargy or lingering aches and pains have been reported.

Nonetheless, a person with open sores from bites could incur infections of some sort, according to deShavo, who does a weekly call-in show on Mississippi Public Radio titled “Southern Remedies.”

In their recent article in the American Journal of Medicine, deShavo and Goddard concluded that bed bug infestations and associated bites produce a variety of emotional and psychological reactions. Some of these may meet criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, they said, though more research is needed to determine to what extent PTSD may occur after attacks by bed bugs.

“It is not a surprise that awakening from sleep with severe itching associated with the visible presence of bed bugs on the skin and bed covering may cause panic, a sense of isolation, embarrassment, and insomnia,” they wrote, and concluded that bed bug attacks “cause moderate-to-severe psychological effects and PTSD in certain susceptible individuals.”


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  1. Charles Fowler

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/52538874@N05/7318050308/http://www.flickr.com/photos/52538874@N05/7318050308/ If, you can kill the eggs at your bed, that is the key. If you determined heat treatment is too dangerous or expensive, now what ? The big picture is you have a ranch, your’re raising Bed Bugs and using your bed as a corral. First, spray your bed or encase the bed to kill the eggs so you won’t be overwhelmed. Second, Make sure there are no problems with your bed. Nothing about your bed can be allowed the touch the wall or floor, but the caster wheels. Third, the new corral for the Bed Bugs is a dim light going 24/7 where the Bed Bugs can be drawn to and removed with masking tape. Fourth, you spray the ceiling-wall line on two of the most distant walls from the dim light to move the Bed Bugs toward the light. Notes: Do not spray near the dim light or any other location, that will create a barrier to keep them from coming to the light. This dim light is most likely for life. As new Bed Bugs arrive at your home they will go to the light. Bed Bugs are drawn to you like Bees, by your Co2. A fan moving air near your bed will mix your Co2 evenly in your bedroom, making it hard for Bed Bugs to find you. Every other day a light spray on your bed caster wheels will protect you. Those in the Bed Bug business won’t be needed anymore. Please beware of baised replies from them.This method seems to be the “Silver Bullet” for Bed Bugs. This lure will provide detection, control for the home and car. The poorest people will be able to handle their infestations. This DIY project can be done for a very small cost of parts. This is a very “Green” method. For all living places and whole house treatment, the hallways will become giant traps. The lights are there, a $5.00 dimmer switch is needed and spray. Lightly place DE on hall traffic areas where people put their foot down. Careful: My new kitten made a mistake, near the light. I moved the litter box there. Later I found a live Bed Bug in it. When the Bed Bugs stop coming to the light, they’re gone, for now. If you have total control, you’ll have complete relief. The Dim lights double for night lights and Bed Bug control. Bed Bugs are not exclusively Nocturnal. When light is used as a lure, this will lead to the downfall of Bed Bugs. Bed Bugs like darkness and subdued light. When you provide subdued light in the darkness they will go there. Search Google… Bed Bugs+ Subdued light. Bedbuggers Bed Bug forum is Overrun with Pest Control Operators who control the site to promote their Bed Bug Businesses. The web site is run by a host who has no knowledge of Bed Bugs and has sold his soul to them for information from them and to give himself credibility.Anybody who has any information to offer, that might interfere with Pest Control Operators ability to promote themselves will be surpressed to keep the information from being made available to the public. All treatments for Bed Bugs must be done by a professional and victims who suffer can do nothing to help themselves,is a lie. The public is being terrorized with false information. Persons making money from Bed Bugs,don’t want, DIY Subdued lighting treatment, to be true. What is it? Has there been a cover-up? How could so many people in the Pest control business not know that Bed Bugs are attracted to light. Don’t they look? Don’t they want to know? How could they let so many people suffer? It’s a scandal. How could reseachers not know? Is this how the World is? It’s disgusting.

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