New research shows bed bugs are not disease spreaders

The research of two Mississippi medical professionals Dr. Richard deShazo and Dr. Jerome Goddard brought the nation some welcome news in 2009: Bed bugs leave nasty bites that are hard to treat but no evidence exists to indicate they spread disease.

Tiny bed bugs will suck your blood but do they carry disease?

Their article appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association and landed them a spot on NBCs The Today Show.

Until the review by deShazo, chairman of the University of Mississippi Medical Center Department of Medicine, and Goddard, a Mississippi State University an entomology professor, little was known about the risks associated with bed bug bites.

Three months ago, deShazo and Goddard published a paper in the American Journal of Medicine on treating the blistering psychological effects of bed bug attacks.

In the 2009 article, their research determined bed bugs do not transmit dangerous diseases such as HIV or hepatitis. Even today, though, deShavo is not entirely sure the parasitic bed bugs are entirely free of pathogens.

We have to keep a close eye on this, he said.

One problem in assessing bed bug bites, according to deShazo, is that many bite victims have no reaction at all. Many others will get only a brief itch.

But people who develop allergies to them or are bit repetitively get these skins reactions that persist for weeks.

We use to miss them because it was such an unusual thing. But now we look for them when people come in with a rash.

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New research shows bed bugs are not disease spreaders

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