Dr. Camille Jones, assistant health commissioner for the Cincinnati Health Department, said the city’s bedbugs have gained fame not because its problem is worse than other cities, but because local officials have more aggressively tackled the problem.
“We’re trying to get ahead of it, and we’re also the only city that has baseline data on about the prevalence of the problem,” Jones said.
In other words, cities like New York and Chicago look like they have less of a bed bug problem than Cincinnati, because they have not even attempted to come up with statistics on the scope of the problem.
I personally find it amusing when the news media outside Cincinnati talk about the rise of bed bugs in that city, instead of considering their own bed bug problems which are receiving (in most cases) less attention from the local government or health department.
Case in point? Articles like this recent one from Los Angeles, which appeared in various iterations in Australia and Connecticut — a country and a state with big bed bug problems, at least in some of their cities.
On the positive side, articles such as this raise awareness of bed bugs as a problem. They introduce the idea that one in six people in a city could have encountered bed bugs in a short span of time. Thanks for driving that idea home, Cincinnati!
And they hopefully also bring a lot of people to look at the bed bug activist site New York vs. Bed Bugs. Even if they sadly missed Renee’s point (and misquoted her to boot), publicity for the issue and the organization is still good.
(Still, “a clean house”? Seriously? Are we still there? I thought we had moved past the idea that there might be a correlation between bed bugs and housekeeping.)
Anyway, isn’t it silly to talk about bed bugs “over there in Cincinnati,” when you haven’t even turned your mattress over for a look?
But even if readers think, “Ewww, Cincinnati!” they’re also probably thinking, “Oh, if Cincinnati, then maybe here, too.”
And when it comes to agitating for change, imagination is key.
Until everyone thinks, “Bed bugs could (will) happen to me, too,” there will still be those who laugh at the idea of bed bug task forces, or bed bug legislation.