What has contributed to a global increase in the prevalence of bedbug bites?

Updated: Mar 26, 2020
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Bedbug infestations seem to be increasing around the world at an alarming rate, possibly due to insecticide resistance. [1] Resistance to pyrethroid insecticides is already widespread in the United States. The bedbug occurs in aggregations when conditions are favorable, but the arthropods disperse when conditions are unfavorable. [2] Active female dispersal can potentially lead to treatment failures and should be taken into account when using control methods.

New tactics may be needed for this escalating public health concern in locations with high occupant turnover, such as hotels, hospitals, and nursing homes. [3] Indeed, in the past decade bedbugs have become a worldwide urban pest, with the number of American households affected markedly increased. [4] Genetic data suggest that C lectularius may be undergoing lineage divergence through host association. [5]

Bedbugs have two barriers with distinct temperature-sensitive and lipid-based physicochemical properties to protect them against insecticides. [6] More research on the bedbug is desirable, including use of autofluorescence lifetime measurements to analyze the bedbug arthropod cuticle. [7]

The tropical bedbug (Cimex hemipterus) has reappeared in Florida after nearly 60 years [8] and has been described in Italy. [9] C hemipterus is behaviorally and biologically similar to C lectularius. How this particular type of bedbug was reintroduced is unknown, and more research is needed to determine its distribution and how established it is.

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