Bedbug Infestation Re-Emergence: Tracking Epidemiological Events Through News Media Reports


Speaker:      Alice Anderson, MS, PhD, Assistant Professor of EH, East Carolina University, NC


Insect pest infestations such as the recent re-emergence of bedbugs are not always reported in a systematic way. Since bedbugs are not known to be a main vector of disease, their presence is considered a nuisance.  They are a public health pest because of the nuisance and potential spread of infection and discomfort, however.  Since they are not an invasive species, or a plant or animal disease, they are not tracked in any current federal tracking system.  This paper presents a unique method of tracking the epidemiology of the re-emergence of bedbugs in the US through newspaper reports.  Lexis-Nexis searches were used to trace the initial infestation center, and the timing and location of subsequent infestations.  From 2001-2007 every state in the US had reported bedbug infestations.