Volume 92, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Populations of the common bed bug, , have recently undergone explosive growth. Bed bugs share many important traits with triatomine insects, but it remains unclear whether these similarities include the ability to transmit , the etiologic agent of Chagas disease. Here, we show efficient and bidirectional transmission of between hosts and bed bugs in a laboratory environment. Most bed bugs that fed on experimentally infected mice acquired the parasite. A majority of previously uninfected mice became infected after a period of cohabitation with exposed bed bugs. was also transmitted to mice after the feces of infected bed bugs were applied directly to broken host skin. Quantitative bed bug defecation measures were similar to those of important triatomine vectors. Our findings suggest that the common bed bug may be a competent vector of and could pose a risk for vector-borne transmission of Chagas disease.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Delaunay P, Blanc V, Del Giudice P, Levy-Bencheton A, Chosidow O, Marty P, Brouqui P, , 2011. Bedbugs and infectious diseases. Clin Infect Dis 52: 200210.[Crossref]
  2. Goddard J, deShazo R, , 2009. Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) and clinical consequences of their bites. JAMA 301: 13581366.[Crossref]
  3. Doggett SL, Dwyer DE, Peñas PF, Russell RC, , 2012. Bed bugs: clinical relevance and control options. Clin Microbiol Rev 25: 164192.[Crossref]
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention US Environmental Protection Agency, 2010. Joint Statement on Bed Bug Control in the United States from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services.
  5. Harlan HJ, Faulde MK, Baumann GJ, Bonnefoy X, Kampen H, Sweeney K, , 2008. Bedbugs. , eds. Public Health Significance of Urban Pests. Copenhagen, Denmark: World Health Organization, 131153.
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013. Parasites—Bed Bugs. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/bedbugs. Accessed November 3, 2013.
  7. Ribeiro JMC, , 1987. Role of saliva in blood-feeding by arthropods. Annu Rev Entomol 32: 463478.[Crossref]
  8. Feilij H, Muller L, Gonzalez Cappa SM, , 1983. Direct micromethod for diagnosis of acute and congenital Chagas' disease. J Clin Microbiol 18: 327330.
  9. Schenone H, , 1999. Xenodiagnosis. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 94: 289294.[Crossref]
  10. Eickhoff CS, Dunn BA, Sullivan NL, Hoft DF, , 2013. Comparison of the infectivity of Trypanosoma cruzi insect-derived metacyclic trypomastigotes after mucosal and cutaneous contaminative challenges. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 108: 508511.[Crossref]
  11. Barbarin AM, Hu B, Nachamkin I, Levy MZ, , 2014. Colonization of Cimex lectularius with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus . Environ Microbiol 16: 12221224.[Crossref]
  12. Zeledon R, Alvarado R, Jiron LF, , 1977. Observations on the feeding and defecation patterns of three triatomine species (Hemiptera: Reduviidae). Acta Trop 34: 6577.
  13. Ross R, , 1911. The Prevention of Malaria. London, United Kingdom: John Murrary.
  14. Macdonald G, , 1957. The Epidemiology and Control of Malaria. London, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
  15. Smith DL, McKenzie FE, , 2004. Statics and dynamics of malaria infection in Anopheles mosquitoes. Malar J 3: 13.[Crossref]
  16. Levy MZ, Bowman NM, Kawai V, Waller LA, Cornejo del Carpio JG, Cordova Benzaquen E, Gilman RH, Bern C, , 2006. Periurban Trypanosoma cruzi-infected Triatoma infestans, Arequipa, Peru. Emerg Infect Dis 12: 13451352.[Crossref]
  17. Reinhardt K, Siva-Jothy MT, , 2007. Biology of the bed bugs (Cimicidae). Annu Rev Entomol 52: 351374.[Crossref]
  18. Krinsky WL, Mullen GR, Durden LA, , 2009. True bugs (Hemiptera). , eds. Medical and Veterinary Entomology. Burlington, MA: Academic Press, 8096.
  19. Klotz SA, Dorn PL, Klotz JH, Pinnas JL, Weirauch C, Kurtz JR, Schmidt J, , 2009. Feeding behavior of triatomines from the southwestern United States: an update on potential risk for transmission of Chagas disease. Acta Trop 111: 114118.[Crossref]
  20. Brumpt E, , 1912. Le Trypanosoma cruzi évolue chez Connorhimus megistus, Cimex lectularius, Cimex Boueti et Ornithodorus moubata. Cycle évolutif de ce parasite. Bull Soc Pathol Exot 5: 360364.
  21. Jorg ME, Natula ON, , 1982. Cimex lectularius L. (la chinche comun de cama) trasmisor de Trypanosoma cruzi . Prensa Med Argent 69: 528533.
  22. Jörg ME, , 1992. Cimex lectularius L. (the common bedbug), the vector of Trypanosoma cruzi . Rev Soc Bras Med Trop 25: 277278.[Crossref]
  23. Goddard J, , 2011. Bedbugs and transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi . Clin Infect Dis 53: 210.[Crossref]
  24. Ferguson NM, Cummings DA, Cauchemez S, Fraser C, Riley S, Meeyai A, Iamsirithaworn S, Burke DS, , 2005. Strategies for containing an emerging influenza pandemic in Southeast Asia. Nature 437: 209214.[Crossref]
  25. Anderson AL, Leer K, , 2008. Bedbug infestations in the news: a picture of an emerging public health problem in the United States. J Environ Health 70: 2427, 52–53.
  26. Schmunis GA, , 2007. Epidemiology of Chagas disease in non-endemic countries: the role of international migration. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 102: 7585.[Crossref]
  27. Bern C, Montgomery SP, , 2009. An estimate of the burden of Chagas disease in the United States. Clin Infect Dis 49: e52e54.[Crossref]
  28. Levy MZ, Small DS, Vilhena DA, Bowman NM, Kawai V, Cornejo del Carpio JG, Cordova-Benzaquen E, Gilman RH, Bern C, Plotkin JB, , 2011. Retracing micro-epidemics of Chagas disease using epicenter regression. PLoS Comput Biol 7: e1002146.[Crossref]
  29. Hunter GC, Borrini-Mayorí K, Ancca Juárez J, Castillo Neyra R, Verastegui MR, Malaga Chavez FS, Cornejo del Carpio JG, Córdova Benzaquen E, Náquira C, Gilman RH, Bern C, Levy MZ, , 2012. A field trial of alternative targeted screening strategies for Chagas disease in Arequipa, Peru. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 6: e1468.[Crossref]
  30. Davies TG, Field LM, Williamson MS, , 2012. The re-emergence of the bed bug as a nuisance pest: implications of resistance to the pyrethroid insecticides. Med Vet Entomol 26: 241254.[Crossref]
  31. Tawatsin A, Thavara U, Chompoosri J, Phusup Y, Jonjang N, Khumsawads C, Bhakdeenuan P, Sawanpanyalert P, Asavadachanukorn P, Mulla MS, Siriyasatien P, Debboun M, , 2011. Insecticide resistance in bedbugs in Thailand and laboratory evaluation of insecticides for the control of Cimex hemipterus and Cimex lectularius (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). J Med Entomol 48: 10231030.[Crossref]
  32. Vazquez-Prokopec GM, Spillmann C, Zaidenberg M, Kitron U, Gürtler RE, , 2009. Cost-effectiveness of Chagas disease vector control strategies in northwestern Argentina. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 3: e363.[Crossref]
  33. Wang C, Gibb T, Bennett GW, , 2009. Evaluation of two least toxic integrated pest management programs for managing bed bugs (Heteroptera: Cimicidae) with discussion of a bed bug intercepting device. J Med Entomol 46: 566571.[Crossref]

Data & Media loading...

Supplementary Data

Supplementary PDF

  • Received : 04 Aug 2014
  • Accepted : 11 Oct 2014

Most Cited This Month

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error