There isn’t much that will make your skin crawl more than imagining a bunch of insects literally crawling all over you. Unfortunately, a California couple visiting New York City recently went through such an experience.
According to sheknows.com, Elgen Ozlin and his girlfriend were in the city to celebrate New Year’s Eve at their $400-a-night hotel when they began feeling the itch of bug bites. Upon inspecting the mattress, a video taken by Ozlin showed an extensive and disturbing bed bug infestation.
“It looked like black mud was jammed into the seam of the bed,” Ozlen told the New York Daily News. “I lost it. They looked like they could hurt horses. It was a colony, a breeding ground.”
Bed bugs can lay anywhere from one to five eggs per day and as many as 500 in a lifetime. A whole colony could quickly fill up a mattress.
Ozlen’s girlfriend ended up with 75 itchy bites by the end of the ordeal.
When they showed the video to the hotel’s general manager, he appeared almost as disgusted as the couple and profusely apologized. But the damage was already done.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would say that bed bugs pose no medical hazard to the couple, Pest Control Technology online reports that research from the Department of Entomology at Ohio State University might indicate otherwise.
Their research showed a significant tie between bed bugs and trench fever, a moderately serious disease that causes high fevers, severe headaches, and even pain from moving the eyeballs. Trench fever was previously only associated with body lice.
In the study, bed bugs consumed three consecutive human blood samples infected with the Bartonellaquintana bacterium, which causes trench fever. The insects’ feces contained detectable trench fever bacterium from three days after the initial infections and through the following 18 days.
“The research is basically saying, we don’t really know all that much about bed bugs and their ability to harbor and potentially transmit pathogens,” said Susan Jones, a professor at the Department of Entomology.
While cases of trench fever transmitted from tropical bed bugs have been indicated by cases in Rwanda, whether other types of bed bugs are able to carry this and other diseases is still unclear.
However, this should add some extra incentive for regularly checking for and preventing a bed bug infestation in a mattress.