Bed Bugs in Healthcare Settings

L. Silvia Munoz-Price, MD; Nasia Safdar, MD, PhD; John C. Beier, ScD; Stephen L. Doggett, BSc


Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2012;33(11):1137-1142. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Infestations caused by bed bugs have resurfaced during the past decade across all continents. Even though bed bugs primarily cause skin manifestations in humans, a major stigma is placed upon people or institutions found to carry them. It is important for healthcare facilities to be prepared for this pest by implementing policies, carefully selecting materials used for hospital furniture, and educating providers on early identification and control.


Bed bugs are insects that have reemerged worldwide after a relatively quiescent phase between 1950 and the late 1990s. Many factors are believed to have played a role in this resurgence, including resistance to the most commonly used pesticides and an increase in international travel. Nevertheless, peer-reviewed literature on the frequency and management of bed bug infestations within hospital facilities is currently lacking. Therefore, we aim here to summarize the main concepts with regard to the epidemiology and clinical implications of bed bugs and provide guidance on the management of these insects, with a major emphasis on infestations within healthcare settings.