Working Paper Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

The Impact of Bedbug (Cimex spp.) Bites on Self-Rated Health and Average Hours of Sleep Per Day: A Cross-Sectional Study among Hong Kong Bedbug Victims

Version 1 : Received: 3 October 2021 / Approved: 6 October 2021 / Online: 6 October 2021 (09:09:17 CEST)

How to cite: Fung, E.H.C.; Chiu, S.W.; Lam, H.M.; Chung, R.Y.; Wong, S.Y.S.; Chan, S.M.; Dong, D.; Wong, H. The Impact of Bedbug (Cimex spp.) Bites on Self-Rated Health and Average Hours of Sleep Per Day: A Cross-Sectional Study among Hong Kong Bedbug Victims. Preprints 2021, 2021100096 Fung, E.H.C.; Chiu, S.W.; Lam, H.M.; Chung, R.Y.; Wong, S.Y.S.; Chan, S.M.; Dong, D.; Wong, H. The Impact of Bedbug (Cimex spp.) Bites on Self-Rated Health and Average Hours of Sleep Per Day: A Cross-Sectional Study among Hong Kong Bedbug Victims. Preprints 2021, 2021100096

Abstract

Bedbug (Cimex spp.) are a nuisance public-health pest that is on the rise globally, particularly in crowded cities such as Hong Kong. To investigate the health impacts of bedbug infestations among bedbug victims, online surveys were distributed in Hong Kong between June 2019 to July 2020. Data on sociodemographics, self-rated health, average hours of sleep per day, and details of bedbug infestation were collected. Bivariate and multivariable analysis were performed using logistic regression. The survey identified 422 bedbug victims; among them, 223 (52.9%) experienced ≥5 bites in the past month, most bites occurred on the arms (n=202, 47.8%) and legs (n=215, 51%), and the most common reaction to bites were itchiness (n=322, 76.3%), redness, and swelling of the skin (n=246, 58.1%), and difficulties sleeping or restlessness (n=125, 29.6%). Bites usually occurred during sleep (n=230, 54.5%). For impact on daily life in the past month, most bedbug victims reported moderate to severe impact on mental and emotional health (n=223, 52.8%) and sleeping quality (n=239, 56.6%). Lower self-rated health (aOR<1) was independently associated with impact to physical appearance (p=0.008), spending money on medication or doctor consultation (p=0.04), number of bites in the past month (p=0.023), and irregular time of bites (p=0.003). Lower average hours of sleep per day (aOR<1) was independently associated with impact on mental and emotional health (p=0.016). This study brings attention to the neglected issue of bedbug infestation by considering bedbugs as an infectious agent instead of a vector and providing empirical evidence describing its health impacts.

Keywords

bed bugs; Cimex spp.; Hong Kong; sleep disturbance; health impact; public health; causal agent; infectious agent; vector

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