Bed Bugs Plague Michigan Hospital

A hospital in Michigan has become the most recent victim in the rapidly growing bed bug epidemic. According to the Lansing State Journal, the Ingham Regional Medical Center in Lansing just had to fumigate the rooms on the sixth floor at one of its facilities.

“We had a patient that came in with bedbugs and we fumigated the room he was in and the room next to him as a precaution,” said Ingham Regional President Bob Wright, quoted the Lansing State Journal. Wright noted that just three months ago, another patient came in with bedbugs.

In Michigan, a variety of state officials from “housing, agriculture, and human service agencies,” and representatives from the “rental housing, hotel, and tourism industries” are meeting today to discuss fighting for legislation to mandate that used mattresses be inspected and sanitized before use, according to Erik Foster, said the Lansing State Journal. Foster is an entomologist with the Michigan Department of Community Health. “We’re seeing a lot of complaints from the public about bedbugs,” Foster said, quoted the Lansing State Journal.

There is minimal legislation concerning bedbugs. As a matter-of-fact, in 2000, a 1917 law mandating that used bedding and bedding components be sanitized was revoked, said the Lansing State Journal, noting that the law was considered archaic and ineffective. Today, there isn’t much in the way of legislation aimed at protecting the public from bedbugs.

We previously wrote that bed bug infestations are becoming increasingly more prevalent, with pest control companies seeing a sharp increase in the number of bed bug-related calls from hotels and motels in recent years. The tiny bloodsucking parasites are transient in nature, traveling in luggage, furniture, and clothing. Once they infiltrate, they are extremely difficult to eradicate completely.

Many believe the resurgence could be tied to increased travel and the reduced use of powerful pesticides like dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), which was banned in the 1960s, as well as the use of narrow spectrum products targeting specific pests, allowing others to survive. Worse, bed bugs appear to be developing pesticide resistance, leading the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue a warning against using outdoor chemicals indoors, said The New Star. Some can have adverse effects on the central nervous system and can cause skin and eye irritation and cancer.

According to Wayne Kramer, an assistant professor of Entomology at Louisiana State University, some exterminators don’t really know how to get rid of bedbugs because infestations have been pretty much unheard of since the 1940s and 1950s when DDT was used, The New Star reported. DDT was banned in 1972 over its toxicity, specifically to wildlife, especially birds, added The New Star.

“It is probably a bigger problem in areas where there are multiple residents together,” Kramer said, quoted The New Star. “They are becoming more abundant and being found in more places. When bedbugs mate and when incorrect insecticides are used, some bugs and their eggs can die, others are forced deeper into hiding where they can live extensively without feeding, Kramer explained, said The New Times. Star.

This entry was posted in Health Concerns. Bookmark the permalink.

© 2005-2016 Parker Waichman LLP ®. All Rights Reserved.