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      Characteristics of Bed Bug Infested Patients in the Emergency Department


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          Cimex lectularius L., the common bed bug, is a hematophagous human ectoparasite that has undergone a global resurgence in the past two decades. We surveyed 706 active emergency department (ED) patients about their experiences with bed bugs. We found that 2% of ED patients reported having a current bed bug infestation, significantly more than the historical number of ED patients upon which we find bed bug; 37% of ED patients report previously having been fed on by a bed bug; 15% currently know someone with an active infestation; and 59% know someone that has had an infestation within ≤ 5 years. Only 18% of bed bug infested patients reported their infestation to emergency medicine providers and only 21% were put in isolation precautions. We found that 25% of patients with bed bugs worried about receiving worse healthcare because of their infestation. Persons with bed bugs were more likely compared to those without bed bugs to be older (52 vs. 41 years) and arrive by ambulance (57% vs. 14%) (p < 0.05), but not reporting insomnia (50% vs. 49%) (p = 1.0). Bed bug infested patients can be common in the ED. Most bed bug infested patients are older, arrive to the ED by ambulance, do not report their infestation to healthcare providers, and are not adequately placed into isolation precautions, potentially putting other patients and providers at risk for acquiring the infestation.

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          Most cited references 10

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          Bed bugs: clinical relevance and control options.

          Since the late 1990s, bed bugs of the species Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus have undergone a worldwide resurgence. These bed bugs are blood-sucking insects that readily bite humans. Cutaneous reactions may occur and can start out as small macular lesions that can develop into distinctive wheals of around 5 cm in diameter, which are accompanied by intense itching. Occasionally, bullous eruptions may result. If bed bugs are numerous, the patient can present with widespread urticaria or eythematous rashes. Often, bites occur in lines along the limbs. Over 40 pathogens have been detected in bed bugs, but there is no definitive evidence that they transmit any disease-causing organisms to humans. Anemia may result when bed bugs are numerous, and their allergens can trigger asthmatic reactions. The misuse of chemicals and other technologies for controlling bed bugs has the potential to have a deleterious impact on human health, while the insect itself can be the cause of significant psychological trauma. The control of bed bugs is challenging and should encompass a multidisciplinary approach utilizing nonchemical means of control and the judicious use of insecticides. For accommodation providers, risk management procedures should be implemented to reduce the potential of bed bug infestations.
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            Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) and clinical consequences of their bites.

            Bed bug (Cimex lectularius) infestations are rapidly increasing worldwide. Health consequences include nuisance biting and cutaneous and systemic reactions. The potential for bed bugs to serve as disease vectors and optimal methods for bed bug pest control and eradication are unclear. To present current knowledge of the health and medical effects of bed bugs and to explore key issues in pest control and eradication efforts. A search of MEDLINE and EMBASE databases (1960-October 2008) for articles using the keywords bed bugs, Cimex lectularius, humans, parasitology, pathogenicity, and drug effects. For pest control, PubMed and Toxline searches (1960-October 2008) were performed using the keywords bed bugs, Cimex, control, prevention, and eradication. Manual searches of older journals, textbooks, pest control trade journals, and newspapers (1892-October 2008) were also performed. Original accounts or investigations of bed bugs, clinical responses with sufficient detail of cause and effect between the bed bug bite and clinical response, and convincing evidence of substantiated presence of bed bug exposure. For pest control, documentation that an eradication measure quantitatively decreased bed bugs. A trained medical reference librarian assisted with the literature search. Two authors with expertise in the diagnosis, treatment, and eradication of bed bugs reviewed the clinical articles. One author evaluated the pest control articles. Fifty-three articles met inclusion criteria and were summarized. Only 2 clinical trials concerning bed bugs were identified and tested the ability of pest control interventions to eradicate bed bugs. Although transmission of more than 40 human diseases has been attributed to bed bugs, there is little evidence that they are vectors of communicable disease. A variety of clinical reactions to bed bugs have been reported, including cutaneous and rarely systemic reactions. A wide range of empirical treatments, including antibiotics, antihistamines, topical and oral corticosteroids, and epinephrine, have been used for bite reactions with varying results. No evidence-based interventions to eradicate bed bugs or prevent bites were identified. Treatment options for cutaneous and systemic reactions from bed bug bites have not been evaluated in clinical trials and there is no evidence that outcomes differ significantly from those receiving no treatment. Evidence for disease transmission by bed bugs is lacking. Pest control and eradication is challenging due to insecticide resistance, lack of effective products, and health concerns about spraying mattresses with pesticides.
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              National estimates of noncanine bite and sting injuries treated in US Hospital Emergency Departments, 2001-2010.

              Injuries resulting from contact with animals and insects are a significant public health concern. This study quantifies nonfatal bite and sting injuries by noncanine sources using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP).

                Author and article information

                Emerg Med Int
                Emerg Med Int
                Emergency Medicine International
                9 May 2019
                : 2019
                1Department of Emergency Medicine, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, 11100 Euclid Ave., B-517, Cleveland, OH 44139, USA
                2Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH 44139, USA
                3Kent State University, Kent, OH, USA
                Author notes

                Academic Editor: Chak W. Kam

                Copyright © 2019 Johnathan M. Sheele et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Funded by: University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center
                Research Article

                Emergency medicine & Trauma


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