|Bedbugs are being found in an increasing number of hospitals.|
As if they don't have enough to deal with already, a growing number of hospitals have a new issue to tackle. Bedbugs are being found in an increasing number of health care facilities across the U.S.
Indications are the situation will get worse, says Ron Harrison, Ph.D., director of technical services, Orkin, Atlanta. Orkin reports that from 2007 through 2009 it provided about 8,500 bedbug treatments in homes and commercial buildings. Of those, 649 treatments were in health care-related facilities and 222 were in hospitals.
"In the next few years I would be surprised if every hospital hasn't had an incident with bedbugs," says Harrison. The company gets calls from hospitals throughout the U.S. seeking help with problems ranging from one or two bugs, also known as an introduction, or sometimes about an infestation where the numbers have multiplied and possibly eggs were laid, he says.
Emergency rooms, employee locker rooms and break areas, and waiting rooms are common spots where the bugs are found, he says. They get to the hospital on personal items.
While bedbugs can deliver an annoying bite, they do not transmit disease. After feeding on human blood at night, they seek a cool spot to live, like a mattress.
What to do if a bedbug is spotted? "Hospitals should call someone who has experience with this ... and can talk them through the products and options," says Harrison.