Apr 15, 2009 | 11
Bedbugs have crawled their way onto the national agenda. Federal environmental regulators are hosting the first-ever "bedbug summit" to discuss emerging infestations of the insects around the country.
At the behest of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), some 300 people gathered in Arlington, Va., yesterday and today to swap ideas about how to get rid of the critters, whose bites make up to half of victims itchy with hives. While there's no official count of how many people are bitten, cities including New York, Chicago, Boston and Cincinnati have reported growing bedbug problems, which experts blame in part on declining use of pesticides amid concerns about their health effects.
Apr 1, 2009 | 5
Itch much? If you're battling bedbugs, you may be dismayed to hear that there's no proved treatment and resistance to chemicals that can eradicate the insects has grown.
On the plus side, a review of the banes of bed bugs (aka Cimex lectularius) in today's JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association notes that the critters—unlike other bloodsuckers—don’t transmit disease. Mosquitoes, for example, infect humans with malaria, dengue fever and a host of other unpleasant and sometimes fatal diseases, and ticks transmit Lyme disease. But the review, by entomologist Jerome Goddard of Mississippi State and allergist Richard deShazo of the University of Mississippi, found that bedbugs don't transmit HIV or hepatitis B as it was feared they might.
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