Volume 98, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Although not presently implicated as a vector of human pathogens, the common bed bug, , has been suspected of carrying human pathogens because of its close association with humans and its obligate hematophagy. Recently, we characterized the vectorial competence of for the parasite , the causative agent of Chagas disease. We observed that can acquire infection when fed on –carrying mice, and subsequently transmit to uninfected mice. This led us to ask why has not been implicated in the transmission of outside of the laboratory? We hypothesized that reduces fitness (i.e., survival and/or reproduction) as an explanation for why does not to transmit in natural settings. We tested this hypothesis by comparing the survival and reproduction of uninfected and –infected . We observed that had a variable effect on survival and reproduction. There were negligible differences between treatments in juveniles. Infected adult females tended to live longer and produce more eggs. However, no effect was consistent, and infected bugs showed more variation in survival and reproduction metrics than control bugs. We did not observe any negative effects of infection on survival or reproduction, suggesting that decreased fitness in –infected is not why bed bugs have not been observed to transmit in natural settings.


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Supplemental Table

  • Received : 24 Jul 2017
  • Accepted : 27 Nov 2017
  • Published online : 22 Jan 2018

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