Survey of Bartonella spp. in U.S. bed bugs detects Burkholderia multivorans but not Bartonella. Academic Article uri icon


  • Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius L.) have resurged in the United States and globally. Bed bugs are hematophagous ectoparasites of humans and other animals, including domestic pets, chickens, and bats, and their blood feeding habits contribute to their potential as disease vectors. Several species of Bartonella are re-emergent bacterial pathogens that also affect humans, domestic pets, bats and a number of other wildlife species. Because reports of both bed bugs and Bartonella have been increasing in the U.S., and because their host ranges can overlap, we investigated whether the resurgences of these medically important pathogens and their potential vector might be linked, by screening for Bartonella spp. in bed bugs collected from geographic areas where these pathogens are prevalent and from bed bugs that have been in culture in the laboratory for several years. We screened a total of 331 bed bugs: 316 bed bugs from 36 unique collections in 29 geographic locations in 13 states, 10 bed bugs from two colonies maintained in the laboratory for 3 yr, and 5 bed bugs from a colony that has been in culture since before the recent resurgence of bed bugs. Bartonella spp. DNA was screened using a polymerase chain reaction assay targeting the 16S-23S rRNA intergenic transcribed spacer region. Bartonella DNA was not amplified from any bed bug, but five bed bugs from four different apartments of an elderly housing building in North Carolina contained DNA sequences that corresponded to Burkholderia multivorans, an important pathogen in nosocomial infections that was not previously linked to an arthropod vector.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

altmetric score

  • 4.1

author list (cited authors)

  • Saenz, V. L., Maggi, R. G., Breitschwerdt, E. B., Kim, J., Vargo, E. L., & Schal, C.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Saenz, Virna L||Maggi, Ricardo G||Breitschwerdt, Edward B||Kim, Jung||Vargo, Edward L||Schal, Coby

editor list (cited editors)

  • Palli, S. R.

publication date

  • September 2013