The Washington Post: Bedbugs may play role in spread of drug-resistant bacteria MRSA, study finds

May 13, 2011

The Washington Post: Bedbugs may play role in spread of drug-resistant bacteria MRSA, study finds

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Anyone who has ever had a bedbug infestation knows full well what a nuisance the pestscan be. Unlike ticks and mosquitoes, however, bedbugs are not known to spread disease, and they are generally not viewed as a major public health threat.

But a peer-reviewed study published Wednesday in a journal of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that the pests could play a role in disease transmission. In a tiny sample of bedbugs, collected from patients living in crowded conditions in an impoverished neighborhood in Canada, researchers found the drug-resistant bacteria known as MRSA.

The researchers and doctors at a Vancouver, B.C., hospital tested three patients from the high-drug-use neighborhood who were infested with bed bugs. They collected five bedbugs and determined that the insects carried two types of drug-resistant bacteria. Three bedbugs from one patient contained methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus(MRSA), and and the two from the other patients each contained vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE).

MRSA has increasingly turned up in hospitals and in outbreaks outside of health-care settings, such as among athletes, prison inmates and children.

“Even though this is a small study, it suggests that bedbugs may be playing a role in the transmission of MRSA in inner city populations where bedbug infestations are a problem,” said Marc Romney, one of the study’s authors. Romney is medical director of infection prevention and control at St. Paul’s Hospital, and a specialist in infectious diseases.

The study does not answer many key questions. It did not determine whether the bacteria were transmitted from the patient to the bugs or the other way around. Nor did it determine whether the bacteria were on the outside of each bug or living and growing inside it, which would suggest the possibility of biological transmission, researchers said.

But even if the bugs were carrying the bacteria on their exteriors, the finding is still significant, Romney said, because bedbugs could spread the germ from person to person, especially in crowded settings such as the homeless shelters where these patients were living in downtown Vancouver.

In recent years, bedbugs have made an alarming comeback, and experts suspect the resurgence is related to resistance to available pesticides, greater mobility and travel, and lack of knowledge about pests that were virtually eradicated in the 1940s and ’50s.

The study was published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal published by the CDC that analyzes and tracks disease trends.

Florida Love Bugs are “trending” on Twitter

May 12, 2011

http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=love+bug

Aggressive termites on the move

May 11, 2011

Two very damaging species spreading in So. Florida

Florida Termite Control

Swarming Eastern Sub Termites

May 10, 2011

Florida Termite Inspection

Happy Mothers Day!

May 8, 2011

News from AL Hoffer’s Termite Lawn Pest

May 6, 2011

News from AL Hoffer’s Termite Lawn Pest Services in South Florida

Bee

May 4, 2011

Great photo!

Rat causes fatal car crash, Miami rescue says

May 3, 2011

Rat causes fatal car crash, Miami rescue says

By Brian Hamacher and Brent Solomon
NBCMIAMI.com

PHOTO: NBC MIAMI

One person was killed and five others injured after a rat caused a car crash in Miami Sunday night, authorities said.

The bizarre incident happened just after midnight in the area of North Miami Avenue and 29th Street when the rat caused an explosion that knocked out street lights at the intersection.

“Believe it or not, a rat was at the top of one of the light poles…and chewed through one of the fusible links at the top of the pole, this caused the street lights to go out,” said Capt. Joseph Zahralban, with the City of Miami Fire Rescue.

Zahralban said a group of people from a nearby bar went to investigate what caused the explosion and were standing on the sidewalk when two cars collided because the lights were out.

“As they were looking at the rat, two vehicles approached the intersection…these vehicles collided and unfortunately hit some of the pedestrians,” Zahralban said.

One person died at the scene. Five others were rushed to nearby hospitals. They are in stable to serious condition, Zahralban said.

Frank Negron said he went to investigate the explosion and was shocked at what he saw.

“I saw the explosion and all the lights went out,” said Negron. “We were trying to figure out what was the cause of the explosion and then someone said ‘there’s a dead rat here on the floor’ and sure enough it was smoking.”

When the crash happened, Negron said, his friends were hit by the cars.

“A few of my friends who were standing on the sidewalk got pinned down by the vehicle, we had to lift up the vehicle and get a young lady out and another young man,” said Negron, who was still bewildered by the chances of the incident happening. “One in a million.”

BBC: India bank termites eat piles of cash

May 2, 2011

BBC: India bank termites eat piles of cash

Staff at an Indian bank have been blamed for allowing termites to eat their way through banknotes worth millions of rupees.

Staff at the bank, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, are reported to have been found guilty of “laxity”.

The insects are believed to have chewed their way through notes worth some 10 million rupees ($225,000/£137,000).

A similar incident happened in 2008, when termites in Bihar state ate a trader’s savings stored in his bank.

The State Bank of India says an enquiry into the latest incident has been held.

Replaced”The branch management has been found guilty of laxity due to which the notes were damaged by termites in the Fatehpur branch of Barabanki district,” State Bank of India Chief General Manager Abhay Singh told the Press Trust of India.

The State Bank of India has warned staff to be alert for money-grubbers

“Action will be taken against those responsible in the matter.

“As it was the bank’s fault, it will bear the loss caused due to termites… there will be no loss to the public.”

Ms Singh said that identity numbers on the majority of the notes were still intact, which meant that they could be replaced.

Bank officials discovered that the notes – which were kept in a strongroom – had been damaged by termites earlier this month.

Ms Singh said that directives had now been issued to all branches that stored currency in strongrooms to ensure that the condition of the cash is checked every two months.

Reports say that the branch where the money was stored was old, seldom properly cleaned and known to be a haven for termites.

“It was earlier brought to the notice of the management that termites were damaging files and furniture. Efforts are on to relocate the bank at some other place,” Ms Singh said.

In the incident in Bihar in 2008, trader Dwarika Prasad lost his life savings after termites infested his bank’s safe deposit boxes and ate them up.

Mr Prasad deposited currency notes and investment papers worth hundreds of thousands of rupees in a bank safe in the state capital Patna.

The bank said at the time that it had put up a notice warning customers of the termites.

10 Most Diabolical Creepy Crawlies On Earth

April 28, 2011

10 Most Diabolical Creepy Crawlies On Earth

by Karl Fabricius

Electron_microscope_photo_of_a_Flea_86_times_magnificationPhoto:
Photo: RBirtles

Evil, diabolical call them what you will, the wingless microscopic or near microscopic critters we’ve gathered together here are a veritable roll-call of the repulsive and the abhorrent. Fleas, lice, ticks, mites and bedbugs make up the minuscule menagerie, and alongside the mug shots we’ve endeavoured to explain what it is each featured pest does to us that makes it equally if not more repugnant than it looks. Feeling itchy yet? These little guys are certainly getting bloated.

10. Bedbug: 4–5 mm long

Bed_bug_bites_and_sucks_up_bloodPhoto:
Photo via Alternative Health Journal

Ever been bitten by Bedbugs? Well, it isn’t pretty; in fact it’s excruciating. Feeding on the blood of humans and other mammals, these night-time nasties get their name from their preferred habitat of mattresses, bed frames, sofas and other furniture, and are often picked up in hotels. Although visible to the naked eye, they’re masters at moving undetected and hiding out of sight in nooks and crannies. They reach their host by crawling or by climbing the walls to the ceiling and jumping down, paratrooper style, on feeling a heat wave.

Elusive menace: Bedbug
Cimex_lectularius_the_common_bedbug_from_slides_at_the_University_of_EdinburghPhoto:
Photo: Adam Cuerden

Like fleas, Bedbugs are attracted by warmth and CO2. Once landed on their host, they pierce the skin with two tubes, one of which injects saliva while the other sucks up blood. The bites cannot usually be felt until much later, when the welts caused are often accompanied by a severe itching as the skin reacts to the anaesthetic injected. Stress, insomnia, and in rare cases nausea are among the reactions to Bedbug infestations, which are undergoing a global resurgence. Infected? The thermal death point for these insect horrors is 45°C.

Infest! Bedbug cases are on the rise
blood_fed_Cimex_lectularius_bed_bugsPhoto:
Photo: A.L. Szalanski

9. Cat Flea: 1.5–3.3 mm long

cat_flea_in_a_microscope_as_a_modelPhoto:
Photo: gucic

Like other fleas, the Cat Flea – one of the most widespread on earth – is an insect with mouthparts modified for piercing skin and sucking blood – to distinctly itchy effect. Housecats are its choice host, but it also commonly infests dogs, and will bite humans – albeit without being able to breed on us. A few Cat Fleas are unlikely to cause much harm unless their host is allergic to substances in their saliva, but they can transmit other parasites and infections to pets and humans including murine typhus and tapeworm. Nasty.

Flee! It’s the Cat Flea
Cat_Flea_head_showing_small_round_ocellus_(simple_eye)_Magnification_Approx_X225Photo:
Photo: Used with permission from the University of Bath

8. Human Flea: 1.5–3.3 mm long

slide_mounted_human_flea_Pulex irritansPhoto:
Photo: David Walker www.micscape.org

Despite its name, the Human Flea will gleefully infest a range of mammals and birds. Like all fleas, its hind legs are adapted for jumping about 130 times its own body height; its tough body is able to withstand great pressure; and it is compressed, allowing ease of movement through hairs, feathers or clothes. An adult flea’s number one objective is to find blood so that it can mate. Human Fleas can also act as ‘middlemen’ hosts for parasitic flatworms and tapeworms. No need to be a good host to these agile little suckers.

Up close and personal: Human Flea
Electron_microscope_photo_of_a_Flea_86_times_magnificationPhoto:
Photo: RBirtles

7. Oriental Rat Flea: 1.5–3.3 mm long

Plague_infected_male_Xenopsylla_cheopis_28_days_after_feeding_on_an_inoculated_mousePhoto:
Photo: CDC/Dr. Pratt

Although a parasite primary of rats, the Oriental Rat Flea is also a dark agent of potentially deadly diseases like bubonic plague. Transmission occurs when the offending flea first bites an infected rodent and then a human. The unsavoury pathogens are spread due to the way the flea’s mouth functions, squirting saliva or partly digested blood into the bite at the same time as sucking up blood. It should be jumping out at you by now that the Rat Flea – onetime bringer of the Black Death – can be much more than just an irritating nuisance.

Harbinger of disease: Rat Flea
Scanning_Electron_Micrograph_of_a_FleaPhoto:
Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) / Janice Carr

6. Scabies Mite: 0.2–0.45 mm long

Sarcoptes_scabei_under_the_microscopePhoto:
Photo: Kalumet

The name Sarcoptes Scabiei is a bit of a giveaway of the sin this critter commits as it quite literally gets under our skin: the skin infection scabies. The fertilised female of this pernicious parasite tunnels into the skin, laying eggs in the ever-lengthening S-shaped burrow she digs using her mouthparts and blade-like front legs. The larvae then hatch in 3-10 days, climb out onto the skin’s surface, roam about the place, and turn into nymphs, before maturing into adult Mites to begin the cycle all over again.

Under the microscope: Scabies Mite
Sarcoptes_scabei_Scabies_mitePhoto:
Photo via liberty4you

All this moving about on and inside the skin causes some pretty intense itching, but it’s the presence of the eggs that seals the scabies deal, bringing about a massive allergic reaction and yet more often unbearable itching. The resultant scratching of this rash can severely damage the skin, particularly through the introduction of infective bacteria, which may lead to nasty secondary infections like impetigo. Making matters worse, Scabies Mites are easily spread through the house by skin contact with carriers, clothing and bedding.

Scabby? Could be Sarcoptes Scabiei
Photo_taken_at_100x_magnification_through_a_microscope_of_a_scabies_mite_(Sarcoptes_scabiei)Photo:
Photo: Joel Mills

5. Body Louse: 1–3 mm long

body_louse_microscopic_imagePhoto:
Photo via Impact Pest Control

It’s time to deal with the true cooties, beginning with Body Lice. While indistinguishable to look at from Head Lice – indeed the two interbreed under lab conditions – in their natural state Body Lice have evolved to attach their eggs to clothes. These dress rather hair styled insect parasites are not only an annoyance due to the intense itching they cause, but are also vectors of diseases such as epidemic typhus and louse-borne relapsing fever, whose recurring symptoms include fever and chills. If in doubt get boiling your linen.

Engorged: Body Louse on human skin after blood feeding
A_female_human_body_louse_(Pediculus_humanus_corporis)_on_human_skin_after_blood_feedingPhoto:
Photo courtesy of Richard Webb

4. Head Louse: 1–3 mm long

Pediculus_capitis_Human_Head_LousePhoto:
Photo: Department of Biology, Gettysburg College

Next up is the Head Louse, the foul parasite that spends its entire life on the human scalp feeding solely on our blood and laying eggs called nits. This light-shunning vampire is so specialised, its stumpy legs are unable to even walk capably on flat surfaces. Its mouthparts are highly adapted for piercing skin and bloodsucking – when it may also excrete dark red faeces. Nice. Infesting new hosts usually comes about via head-to-head contact. About the only nice thing you can say about the Head Louse is that it is not a known transmitter of disease.

Itchy, flaky scalp? Male Head Louse
Male_of_head_louse_under_the_microscopePhoto:
Photo: KostaMumcuoglu

3. Pubic Louse: 1.1–1.8 mm long

Pediculus_humanus_Human_Body_LousePhoto:
Photo: Creepy Dreadful Wonderful Parasites

Pubic Lice, commonly known as crabs, are infamous for infesting the – ahem – human genitals, though they may also live on other areas with hair, including eyelashes, armpits and beards. While sharing the flattened body and claw-like legs of its cousins – ideal for crawling from hair to hair – the Pubic Louse is otherwise distinct in appearance and more distantly related. Still, this is one mean sucker as those infested will testify – albeit discreetly. Infection usually comes through sexual intercourse. To ensure full removal of nits, shaving is advised.

Nice claws: Pubic Louse or crab
Pthius_pubis__crab_lousePhoto:
Photo: PHIL

2. Sheep Tick: approx 5mm

Ixodus_ricinus_5x_sheep_tickPhoto:
Photo: Richard Bartz

Last to grace the stage, it’s the not so loveable ticks, represented first up by the Sheep Tick. Small arachnids similar to mites, ticks are external parasites, living by feeding on the blood of various animals as well as humans. Like others of their kind, Sheep Ticks are found lurking in tall grass and shrubs where they lie in wait. They then attach themselves to passing hosts by inserting their cutting mandibles and feeding tubes into the skin, with backward pointing teeth-like spikes acting as an anchor. The Sheep Tick is an agent Lyme disease in humans.

Tick love: Male Sheep Tick copulating with a much larger female
male_Ixodes_ricinus_tick_(smaller)_shown_copulating_with_a_female_tick_(larger)Photo:
Photo: WHO

1. Deer Tick: approx 5mm

Adult_deer_tick,_on_skin.Photo:
Photo: University of Wisconsin

However, the Deer Tick that is by far the most notorious vector for Lyme Disease, a condition transmitted by the bite of infected ticks whose more serious symptoms may involve the joints, heart and central nervous system. Given its name due to its habit of parasitizing the white-tailed deer, the female Deer Tick latches onto a host and drinks its blood for several days, then once engorged, drops off and overwinters on the forest floor. Naturally this little glutton has a taste for humans too. A suitably disgusting, not to say dangerous, critter on which to end the post.

Ticked all the boxes? Deer Tick
A_deer_tick_Ixodes_damminiPhoto: