Posts tagged tennessee
Posts tagged tennessee
The Metro Public Health Department is looking into complaints at a local hotel after a woman complained she received more than 200 bedbug bites during a one-night stay.
Sue Silverstein noticed a few red spots Wednesday morning after her first night at the Howard Johnson on Brick Church Pike. But when she woke up from an afternoon nap, bright red, itchy bites covered her body.
“I woke up and got a shock,” said Silverstein, 51, in town from San Francisco to sell ukuleles at the National Association of Music Merchants convention. She counted more than 200 bites on her legs, arms, hands and face.
“The owner said, ‘I cannot do anything. I can just give you the money and you check out,’” she said.
In an emailed statement, hotel owner Sam Patel wrote, “Unfortunately, bedbugs affect numerous businesses and industries every year, from hotels and restaurants to retail stores and movie theaters. What’s important is that businesses take action once a situation has been brought to their attention. Upon notice by the guest, we immediately stopped selling the affected room and have already brought in experts to professionally examine and clean the room as necessary.”
Health inspector Clint Johnson validated Silverstein’s story. He inspected her room after she reported the incident to the health department.
“I did see one bedbug — they are really hard to find. If you find one alive, you can assume there are more,” Johnson said. “I’ve been on a couple complaints out there this year.”
He said the critters are on the rise as Nashville draws more international travelers who may pick up bedbugs from outside the country.
“They can shrink down to the width of a piece of paper and slip through cracks,” said Tom Dixon, general manager with Nashville-based US Pest Protection.
Johnson said he checks surrounding rooms if there is a heavy infestation. He did not find bedbugs after a second inspection in another room at the hotel, which was not adjacent to the one Silverstein stayed in.
Hot steam and a liquid treatment are part of the extermination process, but the pesky insects are skillful at hiding, especially the small, sticky eggs they can leave behind. “They can just lay there for long periods of time,” Dixon said.
Problems arise when travelers claim to have bedbug bites just to get a free room, said Greg Adkins, CEO of the Tennessee Hospitality Association, which does not list the Brick Church Pike Howard Johnson as a member. Adkins said some Nashville hotels use specially trained dogs to sniff out the pests.
Last year, the health department received 67 bedbug complaints at hotels outside of regular inspections. Only 20 of those were declared valid, said Brent Hager, director of environmental services.
“We have to see a live (bug) for us to consider it valid,” Johnson said.
Hotels can have their permits revoked if they do not comply with department treatment standards.
Silverstein said she’ll choose a different hotel next time, but the incident won’t affect her positive image of Music City. “This is a very nice place — I love the people here,” she said.
THURSDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) — Add bedbugs to your list of potential occupational health hazards. A new report reveals nearly half of the employees of a U.S. government office in Tennessee were bitten by the blood-thirsty invaders while at work.
A bedbug-detecting German shepherd confirmed the infestation at an unidentified building in Clarksville, Tenn., last September, and investigators concluded that at least 35 workers had suffered bites. Although one woman had bite marks all over her body, the bugs didn’t cause serious health problems, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
Bedbugs can easily expand their territory beyond bedrooms, said Michael Potter, professor of entomology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. “They start in homes and beds, and as people move about, they get transported into office buildings, schools, libraries, movie theaters, retail stores, you name it.”
Clarksville, home to about 125,000 people in north Tennessee, is one of many cities combating bedbugs in nonresidential settings in recent years. Bedbug infestations have soared since 2000 across the United States, sending even customers of luxury hotels and upmarket clothing stores into a panic.
A 2011 survey of U.S. pest control companies found that 38 percent had responded to infestations at office buildings, up from 17 percent the year before. Treatments at schools and day-care centers rose to 36 percent from 10 percent, and visits to hospitals jumped from 12 percent of their jobs to almost one-third.
Bedbugs bite people, often at night, and become engorged with their blood. The bites cause welts, itching and swelling. However, bedbugs do not carry disease like some other insects.
The building in question serves children and has 76 employees, said Dr. Jane Baumblatt, a CDC epidemic intelligence services officer based in Tennessee. Employees began reporting bites and itching last June, she said, and the state health department responded.
Theories about the source of the bites included scabies and fleas. But a German shepherd, one of many dogs around the country trained to detect bedbugs, found them in cubicles and offices within the building, Baumblatt said. Also, dermatologists confirmed that the bites were from bedbugs.
Baumblatt interviewed 61 employees and found that 35 had suffered from bites, often on their legs. “It wasn’t that severe. It was more of a nuisance than anything,” Baumblatt said.
“The anxiety was that people didn’t know what it was,” she said. “Once people figured out they were bedbugs, they were relieved.”
The office brought in a pest control company to rid the office of bedbugs and performed steam cleaning, Baumblatt said.
Potter, the entomologist, said bedbugs prefer beds and stationary furniture such as couches and recliners because they don’t like disruption when they feed on people. But they may be transported to offices, day-care centers or myriad other locations in personal belongings such as backpacks, briefcases and purses.
Once an office becomes infested, managers may not want to tell workers in order to avoid a panic, he said. “In the best of all worlds, the office would inform the employees that some bedbugs have been spotted and they have a pest control company that’s hopefully involved in dealing with things,” he said.
However, Potter added, “nothing is easy when it comes to bedbugs.”
The report was scheduled for presentation Tuesday at the CDC’s annual Epidemic Intelligence Services conference in Atlanta.