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Bed Bug Insecticides Causing Sickness, Officials Warn
Date:9/23/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Bed bug infestations are bad enough, but a new report finds that more than 100 Americans have become sickened from exposure to the insecticides used to eliminate the pests.

The cases happened across seven states, researchers said, and bed bug insecticide exposure may have even contributed to one death.

"The majority of cases involved misuse," said report co-author Dr. Geoffrey Calvert, a medical officer at the U.S. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

Although the issue is not yet a major public health problem, he did offer one key recommendation for folks battling bed bugs.

"If you can't control bed bugs with non-chemical means, such as washing and vacuuming, that means it's probably going to be difficult to eradicate them, and we would recommend that people enlist the services of a pest control operator," Calvert said.

The findings are published in the Sept. 23 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Bed bugs have made a notable comeback over the past few years across the United States and beyond. In San Francisco, for example, reports of bed bug infestations doubled between 2004 and 2006, one study found.

In the new study, the researchers looked at data on illnesses linked to bed bug eradication efforts reported via a federally funded pesticide illness surveillance program between 2003 and 2010. They found 111 such cases across seven states.

Most of the cases, 93 percent, were among people who tried to solve a bed bug problem at home. Most of the illnesses involved headache and dizziness, pain while breathing, difficulty breathing and nausea and vomiting, according to the report. Many of those who fell ill were workers -- such as EMS technicians and carpet cleaners -- who visited homes but had not been told that insecti
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