Bed bug legislation in the U.S. House and in the Ohio House

by nobugsonme on July 22, 2008 · 4 comments

in bed bugs, bed bugs and travel, bed bugs in hotels, cincinnati, ohio

In reference to the Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite Act of 2008, Budget Travel asks, “Should taxpayers fund the war against bed bugs?” The Act, H.R. 6068, is now in consideration by the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection,and would primarily give states funding to inspect hotel rooms for bed bugs.

(Welcome to Budget Travel readers who surfed in via the link! You might like to read this Bedbugger article on how to avoid bed bugs when you travel.)

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Meanwhile, the bill Dale Mallory is sponsoring in the Ohio House of Representatives, which would establish a hotline where Ohio residents could report bed bugs or get information about them, and would require the Dept. of Health to educate the public about bed bugs, is also getting coverage from Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC and in Vindy.com.

H.B. 590 states,

The department of health shall make available on its web site information on the increasing incidences of bed bug (cimex lectularius) infestation and post notices that bed bugs are a public nuisance dangerous to public health.

You might protest that bed bugs are not a danger to public health, but then the World Health Organization includes bed bugs in its new book, The Public Health Significance of Urban Pests. (You can download a PDF on the right side of this page.) And the WHO not just includes bed bugs — as Renee reminds us in an analysis of the WHO study over on New York vs. Bed Bugs, a bed bug is on the cover, with a tick and a rat.

The WHO is concerned about the public health significance of bed bugs. Ohio, along with other states (and cities and countries) should be concerned too.

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1 Lauren Necochea September 22, 2008 at 10:39 am

Has any state or city made bed bugs a reportable condition? Like lead poisoning and infectious diseases?

2 Renee September 23, 2008 at 12:59 am

Not to our knowledge.

The city that is coming closest to articulating an overall control plan that incorporates surveillance is Cincinnati. The Cincinnati and Hamilton County health departments are starting to track infestations (reported to them) using the Cincinnati Area Geographical Information System. They’ve also identified the reporting of infestations treated by pest control operators as a legislative objective to explore.

Cincinnati did classify bedbugs as vermin earlier this year (making the harboring of bedbugs a misdemeanor) but I’m not sure if we know what effect that had on the reporting of infestations. I read somewhere that people had been assured that it would only be a carefully used enforcement tool. Still, who knows. (Anecdotally there was at least one suggestion by a bedbug sufferer here that, when the tenant involved the health department, the landlord ceased to cooperate.)

3 nobugsonme September 23, 2008 at 1:41 am

Hi Lauren,

Cincinnati does seem to be the furthest along.

Toronto also seems to prioritize this, though they don’t seem to be as close to planning changes and implementating them as Cincinnati is.

We do know that Dr. David McKeown, the Toronto Medical Officer, included a reporting system as one of his recommendations for Toronto, which are outlined in this PDF.

4 Sheila Kaminsky February 5, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Bedbugs are definitely a VERY serious problem. In the last year, I stayed in two different hotels that had bedbugs and found out that I have a severe allergy/sensitivity to them. In both instances, after having itching so severe that my skin came off, I had to go to a dermatologist and get a shot of cortisone, followed by a huge number of steroid pills to be taken over the course of a week and prescription steroid cream. I got ill from the treatment and still have scars almost a year later. A note: the second time this happened, I checked the mattress in the room and it appeared clean and was covered in an encasement, but the bugs were living in the bed frame itself.

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