Because she’s one of those entomologists who’s telling it like it is, to public officials who want to ignore the bed bug problem. The Columbus Dispatch quoted Jones Tuesday as saying,
“If you bury your head in the sand, you’re going to get bitten, and it’s just going to get worse and worse,” said Susan Jones, an entomology professor at Ohio State University.
And because she’s trying to convince public health officials that bed bugs are a health problem, something many health officials don’t seem to get:
“The question is: Is it a public-health issue or not?” Columbus Health Department spokesman Jose Rodriguez said. “Bedbugs are really looked upon as a nuisance issue.”
OSU’s Jones, however, said scabbing, secondary infections and the anxiety caused by fearing your own bed are serious health concerns.
Amen. It’s not just about the bed bug bites, for crying out loud.
Those alone are often more than a nuisance, but the loss of sleep, anxiety, and loss of money due to treatment or preparations for treatment (which can mean people do not get the food, health care, or other resources they need) can have even more serious health consequences for many.
Code enforcement handles individual complaints, but Jones recommends a centralized master plan.
She suggested a task force that combines the expertise of pest-control, health, code-enforcement and housing agencies. Trends would be easier to spot with all the complaints and treatment numbers in one place, and a task force also could coordinate a publicity campaign to tell people how to stop the spread of bedbugs.
People should seal infested furniture in plastic before disposing of it; travelers ought to check hotel beds for pests; and exterminators need to know that bedbugs are harder to kill than most insects, experts said.
Jones works with a similar task force in Hamilton County. The group was launched after the Cincinnati Health Department received 737 bedbug complaints in 2007 – the same number as for mice, rats and roaches combined.
I wonder how New York City’s bed bug complaints stack up against our complaints for mice /rats / roaches?
The article’s basic focus is on how Columbus / Franklin County, Ohio need to step up their own response to bed bugs.
Well, you know what they say: admitting your city or county has a bed bug problem is the first step towards solving it.