Self-reported bed bug infestation among New York City residents: Prevalence and risk factors

Nancy Ralph, Heidi E. Jones, Lorna E. Thorpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bed bug infestations have risen precipitously in urban areas. Little is known about risk factors for infestations or health outcomes resulting from these infestations. In the 2009 Community Health Survey, which is a representative population-based survey, 9,934 noninstitutionalized adults in New York City reported on bed bug infestations requiring an exterminator in the past year. The authors estimated infestation prevalence and explored predictors of infestation and associations between infestations and health outcomes using logistic regression. Seven percent of adults in New York City reported bed bug infestations. Significant individual and household risk factors were younger age, increased household poverty, and having three or more adults in the household. Environmental risk factors included living in high poverty neighborhoods and in buildings with more housing units, suggesting apartment-to-apartment transmission. Bed bug infestations were not associated with stress-related outcomes of alcohol consumption or recent depression, and, unlike cockroach infestation, were not associated with recent asthma episodes caused by allergens or contaminants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-45
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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