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Bed Bugs as Vectors of Trypanosoma cruiz


In a study published online yesterday in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, researchers from Penn Medicine’s Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics found that bed bugs are able to transmit Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease, a parasitic infection, in a laboratory setting. Researchers conducted a series of laboratory experiments that demonstrated bi-directional transmission of T. cruzi between laboratory mice and bed bugs, showing that bed bugs can both acquire and transmit the parasite.

Chagas disease, one of the most prevalent and deadliest diseases in the Americas, is a growing problem in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there are approximately 300,000 human cases of Chagas disease in the U.S. As bed bugs have more frequent contact with people than kissing bugs, the current perpetrator and known vector of Chagas, this new discovery raises the alarm and speaks to the need for more research to be conducted.