The State of Illinois is beginning to recognize the severity of its bed bug problem. It issued a press release Tuesday which noted that
“The Illinois Department of Public Health is seeing an increase in the number of calls from the public and from local health departments about bed bug infestations,” said Dr. Damon T. Arnold, state public health director. “To help reduce this problem, I encourage everyone to learn the signs of bed bug infestations, how the bugs spread, what you can do to prevent getting them and what to do if you find bed bugs.”
And the Illinois State Department of Public Health website now contains information on bed bug prevention and control.
As is often the case, I am not 100% thrilled with everything here (for example, only reddish-brown 1/4″ adults and not translucent 1/32“ nymphs are mentioned in the section on what bed bugs look like).
However, I am glad to see Illinois Public Health providing bed bug information on their website and specifically making this invitation to the public on it:
For more information, contact the Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health, 525 W. Jefferson St., Springfield, IL 62761, 217-782-5830, TTY (hearing-impaired use only) 800-547-0466.
I am glad Illinois recognizes the health significance of this pest. As anyone who has had bed bugs will tell you: though not yet known to transmit disease, bed bugs most certainly are a health problem.
And I am glad they want to hear from people who need more information about bed bugs. I hope some of you will take them up on that! And I hope Illinois will take further steps to combat bed bugs and educate people about them.
The Chicago Tribune ran two stories on bed bugs yesterday. ”Bed Bugs and Beyond Disgusting“ covered the spread of bed bugs in the City, and notes that bed bugs are prompting some changes in Chicago. Much more help is needed.
“Five years ago, it wasn’t an issue,” said Arturo DelAngel, who works the complaint hot line at the Metropolitan Tenants Organization. “Now it’s bedbugs all the time, every day.”
Prompted by an outcry from angry, itchy citizens, city officials next month will train 45 building inspectors to spot the critters. A coalition that includes the Metropolitan Tenants Organization, the Safer Pest Control Project and Ald. Joe Moore’s (49th) office is lobbying for a coordinated response that would educate school nurses, establish citywide tracking and launch an aggressive public-awareness campaign.
While training inspectors to recognize bed bugs is not nearly enough of an action plan, it is a start, and we applaud the City of Chicago taking steps to fight bed bugs.
The second, related story in the Trib advised readers on what to do if they have bed bugs. The answer?
What to if you have an infestation:
- Call your landlord
- Call 311, make sure you get a “reference number” so you can track the disposition
- Call your alderman’s office
- Talk to your neighbors
- Hire a qualified exterminator
And among the ”additional resources“ suggested (The Metropolitan Tenants Organization also prominent), the article pointed readers to:
Chicago vs. Bedbugs, a community organizing group
We congratulate our friend Jessica Kevan, Founder of Chicago vs. Bed Bugs, on the good press!