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Mental health effects from urban bed bug infestation (Cimex lectularius L.): a cross-sectional study
  1. Stephanie Rebecca Susser1,2,
  2. Stéphane Perron1,2,3,
  3. Michel Fournier2,
  4. Louis Jacques1,2,
  5. Geoffroy Denis2,
  6. François Tessier2,
  7. Pasquale Roberge4
  1. 1Département de médecine sociale et préventive, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
  2. 2Direction de santé publique de l'agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
  3. 3Département de médecine de famille, Université de Sherbrooke CHUS-Hôpital Fleurimont, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada.
  1. Correspondence toDr Stéphane Perron; sperron{at}


Objective To assess whether bed bug infestation was linked to sleep disturbances and symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Design Exploratory cross-sectional study.

Setting Convenience sample of tenants recruited in apartment complexes from Montreal, Canada.

Participants 39 bed bug-exposed tenants were compared with 52 unexposed tenants.

Main outcome measures The effect of bed bug-exposed tenants on sleep disturbances, anxiety and depression symptoms measured using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, 5th subscale, Generalised Anxiety Disorder 7-item scale and Patient Health Questionnaire, 9-item, respectively.

Results In adjusted models, bed bug infestation was strongly associated with measured anxiety symptoms (OR (95% CI)=4.8 (1.5 to 14.7)) and sleep disturbance (OR (95% CI)=5.0 (1.3–18.8)). There was a trend to report more symptoms of depression in the bed bug-infested group, although this finding was not statistically significant ((OR (95% CI)=2.5(0.8 to 7.3)).

Conclusions These results suggest that individuals exposed to bed bug infestations are at risk of experiencing sleep disturbance and of developing symptoms of anxiety and possibly depression. Greater clinical awareness of this problem is needed in order for patients to receive appropriate mental healthcare. These findings highlight the need for undertaking of deeper inquiry, as well as greater collaboration between medical professionals, public health and community stakeholders.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: and

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