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Bedbug bite in Adult
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Bedbug bite in Adult

Contributors: Susan Burgin MD, Whitney A. High MD, JD, MEng
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Bedbugs (Cimex lectularis) are 4-5 mm ovoid, flat, wingless, red-brown, nocturnal, blood-sucking insects. The insects hide during the day in the seams of mattresses, in the crevices of box springs, and in the cracks of floors and walls. Bedbugs require a blood meal to progress in their life cycle. The insects feed weekly and prefer to bite in the predawn hours. While a blood meal is required to advance in the life cycle, bedbugs have been known to survive up to 12 months without a blood meal. In the absence of a human host, bedbugs may feed on other animals. The bedbug can travel by concealing itself or its eggs within the dark recesses of suitcases and other personal effects, including clothing.

Bedbugs have afflicted humans for thousands of years but became uncommon after World War II because of widespread use of modern insecticides. Beginning in 1995, a resurgence in bedbug infestations was noted, with rates almost doubling annually in North America, Western Europe, and Australia.

Increased national and international tourism, changes in pesticide use (including a prohibition on DDT), and use of recycled mattresses are thought to contribute to this epidemic of bedbug activity. Contrary to popular belief, cleanliness and hygiene have little impact on bedbug infestation. The insects are attracted to humans based on temperature and carbon dioxide production. Bedbugs are most prevalent in urban areas, likely due to population density and/or crowding.

At present, it is not believed that bedbugs are important vectors of disease transmission, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis B or C. Patients with bedbug bites often come to medical attention seeking relief of resultant pruritus and skin lesions.


W57.XXXA – Bitten or stung by nonvenomous insect and other nonvenomous arthropods, initial encounter

242649000 – Bite of bed bug

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Last Reviewed:05/04/2017
Last Updated:05/04/2017
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Patient Information for Bedbug bite in Adult
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Bedbug bite in Adult
A medical illustration showing key findings of Bedbug bite : Grouped configuration, Trunk, Blanching macule, Pruritus, Insect bite, Round shape
Clinical image of Bedbug bite - imageId=3133638. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'Urticarial papules on the arm.'
Urticarial papules on the arm.
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