Sleeping with the Enemy: Everything You Need to Know about the Biology, Clinical Significance, and Laboratory Identification of Bed Bugs

Blaine A. Mathison, Bobbi S. Pritt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The world has experienced a major global resurgence of bed bug infestations over the past 2 decades. While bed bugs do not serve as vectors of disease, their bites and household infestations result in significant psychological distress, clinical manifestations, and economic costs. Most human bed bug infestations are caused by the “common bed bug,” Cimex lectularius, or the “tropical bed bug,” C. hemipterus. Zoonotic cimicids also occasionally feed on humans. Bites are the most commonly reported manifestation of infestations, although findings may be subtle and overlooked for some time. The bugs can be submitted to the laboratory for identification, and therefore, clinical microbiologists should be familiar with their key identifying features and how they can be differentiated from similar-appearing arthropods. This review covers the biology and epidemiology of bed bugs; aspects of laboratory collection, identification, and reporting; and the clinical implications of bed bug infestations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Microbiology Newsletter
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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