Histamine as an emergent indoor contaminant: Accumulation and persistence in bed bug infested homes

Zachary C. DeVries, Richard G. Santangelo, Alexis M. Barbarin, Coby Schal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Histamine is used in bronchial and dermal provocation, but it is rarely considered an environmental risk factor in allergic disease. Because bed bugs defecate large amounts of histamine as a component of their aggregation pheromone, we sought to determine if histamine accumulates in household dust in bed bug infested homes, and the effects of bed bug eradication with spatial heat on histamine levels in dust. We collected dust in homes and analyzed for histamine before, and up to three months after bed bug eradication. Histamine levels in bed bug infested homes were remarkably high (mean = 54.6±18.9 μg/100 mg of sieved household dust) and significantly higher than in control homes not infested with bed bugs (mean < 2.5±1.9 μg/100 mg of sieved household dust). Heat treatments that eradicated the bed bug infestations failed to reduce histamine levels, even three months after treatment. We report a clear association between histamine levels in household dust and bed bug infestations. The high concentrations, persistence, and proximity to humans during sleep suggest that bed bug-produced histamine may represent an emergent contaminant and pose a serious health risk in the indoor environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0192462
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 DeVries et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Histamine as an emergent indoor contaminant: Accumulation and persistence in bed bug infested homes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this