How dangerous are bed bugs?

Researchers say there's a reason people say "Good night! Don't let the bed bugs bite!" These brazen, brown night time nibblers used to be everywhere.

"But for about a half century they went away. For a variety of reasons they have come back. Some people say that they are exploding in many places in the world today," said Jerome Goddard, Ph.D. Mississippi State University.

Some studies show up to 500 percent increase in the bedbug population. In a report provided by the Journal of the American Medical Association, scientists say they think they know why.

"They're parasites, they suck blood, so they're brought into someplace in someone's luggage or belongings, they start living there it has nothing to do with how clean you are," said Goddard.

Entomology expert, Jerome Goddard, says these tiny, human blood suckers need to be understood.

"Some scientific papers say that bed bugs transmit human diseases, some say they don't. Some people say you're supposed to throw out the mattresses when there's an infestation of bedbugs, some people say you don't, " said Goddard.

Bed bug bites may leave behind little puncture sites and some people experience a lot of itching. Experts say see a doctor if the symptoms get worse.

Researchers analyzed over 50 related bed bug investigations. They found little evidence the creatures transmit human disease and rarely cause bad infections, but experts did find once bed bugs stake their claim, they're not easy to get rid of.

"It's not impossible, but certainly difficult," said Dr. Richard deShazo.

So for now the scientists say bed bugs are more of a nuisance than a health hazard.

If you have bed bugs and can't afford a new mattress, experts recommend vacuuming and applying a sealable cover. And don't use insecticides where you sleep.

Experts predict about 30 percent of people bitten by bedbugs develop a clinical reaction.



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