Thursday, January 3, 2013

In the War Against Bedbugs A New Weapon Means Letting Them Bite the Hand, Arm and Legs That Feed Them

Dog Medicine Could be the Solution to an Age Old Problem

Bedbugs are near the top of the list of things The Dismal Political Economist, and presumably others, do not want to consider.  The insects get their name because they hid in the bedroom and when the victim is sleeping they come out and bite them.  All in all not the experience one wants to have in the bedroom.

But it turns out that researchers may have found a cure to the problem, although for some the cure may be as bad as the disease.

Gimme Your Best Shot

You take the pill and go to bed — perchance even to sleep, if you can sleep knowing how patiently bedbugs wait in your walls or mattress, sniffing for the sweet stream of your exhaled carbon dioxide and for your warm skin to grow still. You let them bite you. And then — in a few days — they die.

The specific pill is something that was developed for other uses, notably diseases in tropical countries and for treating or preventing heartworm infestation in dogs.

And it’s not as if the drug is rare and dangerous. It’s already in thousands of American households: ivermectin, the active ingredient in the beef-flavored Heartgard Chewables that kill heartworm in dogs.

Still the research in its early stages,

Dr. Sheele is not advising bedbug-tormented Americans to start eating Fido’s worm tablets. With only four volunteers, his study was tiny and preliminary, he emphasized. Neither the Food and Drug Administration nor any medical society has approved using ivermectin this way, and no one yet knows what the ideal antibedbug dose is.

But one can see a whole new employment opportunity opening up.  Mitt Romney and the folks that deplore the so-called 47% of Americans they see as living off the work and sweat of the rest of the country may well propose that as a condition to receiving federal help in the form of unemployment insurance, Medicare, Social Security etc (those are the major parts of the 47%) the individuals move into an infested bedroom, take the medicine and let the bedbugs bit them to  kill the bedbugs.  Such a policy would fit with their philosophy of governing.

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