Bedbugs won't kill you, but using insecticides incorrectly to get rid of them can be harmful, according to a report.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studied information from 2003 through 2010 from the Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risks (SENSOR) Pesticides program and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The findings were published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Bed bug infestations often are treated with insecticides, but insecticide resistance is a problem, and excessive use of insecticides or use of insecticides contrary to label directions can raise the potential for human toxicity, the report says.
Researchers found 111 cases of illnesses in seven states: California, New York, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, Texas, and Washington.
Most of the cases were in New York City.
People who felt ill after insecticide use mostly reported neurologic, respiratory, and gastrointestinal symptoms.
Eighty-one percent of the cases were considered low severity, according to the CDC, and there was one fatality.
A 65-year-old woman, according to the report, sprayed her own hair and body and sores with insecticide. Her husband had already sprayed various insecticides around the house without following the instructions on the bottle. The woman died a few days later at a hospital.
Her fatality highlights one of the findings in the report: Among cases, 39% of pesticide applications were performed by occupants of the residence who were not certified to apply pesticides.