Persistence of hepatitis B surface antigen in the bedbug Cimex hemipterus (Fabr.)

J Infect Dis. 1979 Sep;140(3):411-4. doi: 10.1093/infdis/140.3.411.


The fate of hepatitis B virus in the bedbug was investigated to assess this insect's potential as a vector. Colony-reared Cimex hemipterus (Fabr.) were fed once on blood positive for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). The insects were sampled at intervals thereafter and tested for HBsAg by radioimmunoassay. HBsAg persisted for up to six weeks in the bedbug's body after a single HBsAg-positive meal, during which time several further HBsAg-negative blood meals were taken. This result explains the high rates of field infection in bedbugs and further supports the hypothesis that bedbugs may play a role in transmission of hepatitis B virus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bedbugs / immunology*
  • Bedbugs / microbiology
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / analysis*
  • Hepatitis B virus / growth & development
  • Time Factors


  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens