SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.52Extensive vesiculobullous exanthema following chikungunya fever in a 13-year-old patientAn unusual dark macular lesion in the plantar region of a child índice de autoresíndice de assuntospesquisa de artigos
Home Pagelista alfabética de periódicos  

Serviços Personalizados




Links relacionados


Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical

versão impressa ISSN 0037-8682versão On-line ISSN 1678-9849

Rev. Soc. Bras. Med. Trop. vol.52  Uberaba  2019  Epub 18-Jul-2019 

Images in Infectious Diseases

Bedbugs: Unwelcome Travel Companions

Walter de Araujo Eyer-Silva1

Isabelle de Carvalho-Rangel1 

Ricardo de Souza Carvalho1 

1Hospital Universitário Gaffrée e Guinle, Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde, Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.

A 50-year-old man presented in August 2018 with a three-week history of recurrent clusters of small, highly pruritic, cutaneous lesions. He was a resident of the city of Rio de Janeiro and reported a history of travel to Sergipe, Northeast Brazil, three months before presentation. Oral dexamethasone was prescribed at another facility, with incomplete and temporary relief. Clinical examination revealed several pruritic, erythematous maculopapules mainly over the lateral aspect of his arms (Figure 1A and 1B) as well as on his back (Figure 1C). A topical corticosteroid cream was prescribed, and he was instructed to search for evidence of a bedbug infestation at home. Two days later, he returned with samples of Cymex spp. arthropods (Figure 2) gathered from his mattress. He also found blood spots and excrement on his bedsheets.

FIGURE 1: Clinical images of a 50-year-old man with several pruritic, erythematous maculopapules mainly over the lateral aspect of his arms (A and B) and back (C). Bites arranged in a row of three (referred to as breakfast, lunch and dinner) are indicated by arrows (A). 

FIGURE 2: Samples of Cymex spp. recovered by the patient from his mattress. 

Bedbugs such as Cimex lectularius and C. hemipterus are resurgent hematophagous ectoparasites with worldwide distribution1-3. They belong to the Hemiptera order of insects, family Cimicidae, and are suspected of transmitting pathogens; however, no report has yet proved their role as vectors3. Bedbugs prefer feeding on humans during minimal host activity, usually at night. They may survive more than a year without feeding. Diagnosis relies on clinical manifestations and direct observation of the arthropod. Bedbugs are usually transported passively, mainly in clothing and luggage1-3. Presumably, our patient’s luggage or clothing was infested during his hotel stay in Sergipe. He recovered completely after topical corticosteroid treatment, in addition to inspection of and application of insecticide to the infested sites.


1. Steen CJ, Carbonaro PA, Schwartz RA. Arthropods in dermatology. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2004;50(6):819-424. [ Links ]

2. Heukelbach J, Hengge UR. Bed bugs, leeches and hookworm larvae in the skin. Clin Dermatol. 2009;27(3):285-90. [ Links ]

3. Delaunay P, Blanc V, Del Giudice P, Levy-Bencheton A, Chosidow O, Marty P, et al. Bedbugs and infectious diseases. Clin Infect Dis. 2011;52(2):200-10. [ Links ]

Informed Consent: Informed consent was obtained from the patient for the publication of this case and the accompanying images.

Recebido: 02 de Fevereiro de 2019; Aceito: 15 de Abril de 2019

Corresponding author: Dr. Walter de Araujo Eyer-Silva.

Conflict of Interest: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Creative Commons License This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License