I really don’t know what to make of this article in Tuesday’s Jersey Journal.
Some Hudson County Sheriff’s officers were answering a domestic violence call in Jersey City, and encountered bed bugs in the home. (The article claims the officers were bitten by bed bugs upon entering the home.)
What happens next is quite astonishing:
Ten residents of the building – at Wilkinson and Ocean avenues – as well as five sheriff’s officers were quarantined in the two-and-a-half story building while fire officials brought people out to scrub them down in a special shower set up at the scene.
Two men were taken out of the building in handcuffs shortly before noon, even as officers dressed in full hazmat gear with oxygen masks went into the home.
Bed bugs will bite people who enter the home, and may hitch rides out. Donning protective clothing is not a bad idea for avoiding bed bug bites and hitchhiking bugs, if officers are entering a home with an infestation.
Bed bugs do spread.
However, I really do not understand why a “special shower” was necessary, or why the photo accompanying this article show a fully-clothed woman and child being sprayed by something. (Click here to see the photo enlarged.) They are obviously in distress. And I do not see how this is necessary.
If it is necessary to ensure someone’s body is bed bug-free, they could be asked to remove clothing and take a shower– a simple shower with soap and water, and a clean change of clothing, is all that should be needed. (It will, of course, last only until the person re-enters the infested home.)
But spraying them down like they’ve been exposed to toxic chemicals is extreme and inhumane. And probably pointless.
If someone has a bed bug inside his or her pants, I don’t think spraying someone with their clothes on is the best way to kill it.
So the whole experience was pointlessly humiliating. There’s no need to up the stigma of having bed bugs.
I hope officials in Jersey City will do everything they can to make sure people don’t have to live with bed bugs.
Although the officers may have been spared the trouble of bringing bed bugs home, the families in this building were presumably sent back home to live with bed bugs that night. I really hope they’re getting the help they need to get rid of this problem.