ATLANTA (AP) — Researchers are reporting an alarming combination: bedbugs carrying a staph "superbug."
Canadian scientists detected drug-resistant staph bacteria in bedbugs from three hospital patients in Vancouver.
There's no clear evidence that the five bedbugs found on the patients and their belongings had spread the MRSA (MUR'-suh) germ or a second less-dangerous drug-resistant bacteria.
While bedbugs have not been known to spread disease, one of the study's authors says the creatures can cause itchiness and scratching. Dr. Marc Romney says that can cause breaks in the skin that make people more susceptible to an infection.
Still, he describes the study as small and preliminary.
The hospital where the bedbugs were discovered is near a downtrodden neigborhood by Vancouver's waterfront.
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Bed with pillows, with Bedbug drawing on texture, partial graphic
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Bedbug, undated photo on white
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Bedbug, graphic element on black
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: File In this Wednesday, March 30, 2011 file photo, A bed bug is displayed at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington. Canadian scientists detected drug-resistant MRSA bacteria in bedbugs from three hospital patients from a downtrodden Vancouver neighborhood.
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: FILE - In a Feb. 1, 2011 file photo, bedbugs are seen next to the tip of a finger in a container from the lab at the National Pest Management Association, during the National Bed Bug Summit in Washington. In a study released Wednesday, May 11, 2011, Canadian scientists detected drug-resistant MRSA bacteria in bedbugs from three hospital patients from a downtrodden Vancouver neighbourhood. Bedbugs have not been known to spread disease, and there's no clear evidence that the five bedbugs found on the patients or their belongings had spread MRSA or a second less dangerous drug-resistant germ. However, bedbugs can cause itching that can lead to excessive scratching. That can cause breaks in the skin that make people more susceptible to these bacteria, noted Dr. Marc Romney, one of the study's authors.