The outbreak came to light after a hospital employee contacted the Echo with fears the problem was posing a health risk to patients, visitors and staff.
Two wards have become infested so far – the Eastwood ward which specialises in gynaecology and the Balmoral ward which specialises in wound care.
It is understood the hospital has had fumigators into the wards in a bid to combat the problem and patients had to be moved from the wards.
The employee, who will remain anonymous, said: “Everyone is concerned because the problem still seems to be spreading and people could end up taking them home with them if it isn’t sorted soon.
“They had pest control in a couple of weeks ago but the wards are still infested with them.”
Denise Townsend, director of nursing at Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “We can confirm that the Trust has experienced a minor infestation of bed bugs, restricted to a small area on two wards.
“This is being contained and treated appropriately in partnership with a professional pest control service.
“Bed bugs can be transported easily in luggage, clothing and furniture.
“We have advised patients and staff on the affected to wards to minimise the amount of personal belongings they bring onto the ward with them and to report any bites or sightings to our infection control team to help prevent further spread.”
Bed bugs are parasites which can bite and cause itchy red bumps on the skin.
The bites are painless, but some people experience a reaction to them.
This can occur from a few minutes after being bitten to up to a week or two later.
The bites can cause rashes, and fluid-filled blisters in more severe cases and can also become infected if scratched.
Pest control experts Rentokil say the presence of bed bugs in hospitals could indicate poor quality of hygiene and sanitation, as well as cause discomfort to patients.