Bed bugs are covered by some local newspapers every week. But some syndicated stories reach a lot of readers.
One compelling story from the Springdale Gardens Apartments in Austin, Texas appeared on Wednesday on KVUE.com (click to read story or see video).
Yahoo! News picked up the video from the KVUE story on Friday, where it doubtless got many more viewers. And Yahoo! accompanied this with a McClatchy syndicated news story (which appeared in papers all over the US on Friday) about the resurgence of bed bugs, and the recently reintroduced Butterfield Bill, the Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite Act of 2009:
Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield just introduced legislation that would authorize $50 million that’s already in the Department of Commerce budget to train health inspectors how to recognize signs of the insects.
The Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite Act of 2009 also would require public housing agencies to submit bedbug inspection plans to the federal government. It would add bedbugs to a rodent and cockroach program in the Department of Health and Human Services . It also would require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research bedbugs’ impact on public mental health.
Butterfield’s letter to congressional colleagues about the legislation attracted lots of attention: It was topped with a full-color picture of the insect sitting on human skin.
“Unfortunately, in recent years, the United States has seen a resurgence in bedbugs,” the letter reads. “That’s right — they’re back in the sack — and biting.”
There is much more discussion of the bill in the news this time around, and — though libertarian news sites in particular enjoy jumping on this kind of bill — there’s a lot less snark and sniggering on the ‘net about the bill than there was last year.
I love how Dr. Michael Potter (of the University of Kentucky) puts the health issues caused by bed bugs in the spotlight:
“Most health departments say, ‘Hey, we don’t deal with bedbugs,’ ” Potter said.
Those who’ve suffered outbreaks say that the anxiety it induces can be debilitating. Potter said many sufferers tossed out furniture and could spend thousands of dollars on repeated treatments from pesticide companies. They call him about anxiety, insomnia, shame and the incessant annoyance of itchy red welts on their skin.
“They’re, like, ready to blow their brains out,” Potter said. “It’s emotionally distressing. Anyone that has never had a bedbug problem is not one to judge whether we’re dealing with a medical, emotional public health issue.”
Did you catch that?
Yes, Dr. Potter said, “Anyone that has never had a bedbug problem is not one to judge whether we’re dealing with a medical, emotional public health issue.”
Go Dr. Michael Potter!
In fact, anyone watching the video from Austin of stressed-out mom Sommer Jackson showing off bite marks on her adorable infant, or Sommer’s neighbor Laketra Jackson who threw out all her bedding and still has bed bugs, should get that this problem is a big deal.