Torontoist is running its Heroes and Villains contest for 2009; readers can vote for the Superhero and Supervillain of 2009.
Bed bugs are in the Villains contest; Torontoist writes:
This was the year bed bugs finally achieved genuine epidemic status in Toronto. In November, a report funded by the city and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care received major media coverage for revealing that Toronto Public Health had handled 1,500 reports of bed bug infestations in 2008, between March and October. By contrast, there were only forty-six infestation reports in all of 2003.
Despite pleading from commentators in the media and from the Toronto Bed Bug Project, an advisory group set up by Toronto Public Health, the city has yet to act decisively on the bed bug problem. Currently, the public’s best source of information on infested properties in the downtown area is a website owned and operated by a guy in Romania. Bed bugs will remain a bothersome public enemy, until public officials are ready to prioritize their eradication.
I predict bed bugs will not win Torontoist’s Supervillain of 2009 — though they deserve to — for the same reason fighting bed bugs is not prioritized by the voting public and by those in positions of power: unless they have seen at least one case of bed bugs and their path of destruction first hand, people don’t tend to get how awful they are, and how much we need to curtail their spread.
And having said that, I hope to be proven wrong.