Which history is characteristic of bedbug bites?

Updated: Apr 18, 2019
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Bedbug bites often occur at night, because the insects are nocturnal, with peak activity just before dawn. Bedbugs are resourceful and opportunistic. In a well-documented daytime outbreak, its victims were all women who rode a particular English tram. [19] Each woman had a peculiar band of erythema studded with bullae on the back of both calves.

Repeated exposure to external bedbug bites leads to skin reactions. In 2009 report, 18 of 19 persons had a skin reaction after bedbug exposure, but usually only after repeated controlled exposure. [20] With repeated exposure, the latency between the bite and the skin reaction decreased from about 10 days to a few seconds. [20]

Visually searching beds for bedbugs may be useful. [21] It may be more efficient to survey the corners of bed nets and mattresses. These insects also produce a peculiar pungent odor familiar to building inspectors and tenement dwellers. With a heavy infestation, specklike masses of dung may be evident behind wallpaper and at other sites. This dung contains blood elements. [21]  They may adapt to the corporate office workplace. [22]

As reported by Leibold et al, [23] a disseminated bullous eruption with systemic reaction caused by C lectularius may occur, but this is rare.

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