The triage room at Kings County Hospital in East Flatbush, Brooklyn was shut down and treated Sunday night after a bed bug was found, brought in on a patient, according to the Wall Street Journal. (The hospital did continue to provide triage and serve patients during this episode.)
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said that “The presence of a few bedbugs…are rarely indicative of an infestation that results in people being bit or bedbugs being spread.”
The presence of a few bed bugs in a location means that there are bed bugs present in that location. They have been spread to that location (obviously) and can be spread to others.
Once in a location, bed bugs will try to bite people. It’s what they live for.
I realize the DoHMH spokesperson may have stated something slightly different. And I think the DoHMH spokesperson may have meant that the presence of a single bed bug which comes into the hospital on a person or in their belongings does not in itself constitute an “infestation.”
It’s true that everyone present in the hospital does not need to panic that they may now have bed bugs.
It’s also true that if this was the only bed bug found, and it was killed, then this incident would not lead to a bed bug infestation in the hospital.
The problem is: how do you know there were not other bed bugs present and unseen? (Remember, bed bug first instar nymphs are 1 mm long and translucent, so much harder to spot than an adult, and even adults hide well in clothing, bags, cracks, furniture.)
If a single pregnant female bed bug, or a male and female bed bug, came into the hospital, and were not detected or killed before the female began laying eggs, then voilá!: you will have a bed bug infestation.
Bravo to the Kings County Hospital workers for spotting a bed bug. Hey, they’re in a city hospital in Brooklyn. Can this really be the first time they’ve seen one?
Boos and hisses to Hamilton Nolan of Gawker, who thinks bed bugs are not a big deal.
Watch the video from Fox NY below:
Or via their website.
The Victoria’s Secret store on Lenox Hill in Manhattan was also treated for bed bugs Wednesday.
NY1 reports that a Victoria’s Secret spokesperson said that “only a small and isolated area of the Lenox Hill store was affected” and that “all the merchandise in the affected section was removed and destroyed.”
Destroying items, unless fire is used, does not kill bed bugs. It’s not necessary either, since items can be treated to kill bed bugs and eggs.
Yes, you might not want to sell merchandise which might have dead bed bugs and eggs in it, but why not donate it?
NY1 also reports “many” of the New York City Victoria’s Secret locations “will be tested for bed bugs.”
You can’t test for bed bugs, but you can inspect. And never with a 100% success rate, whether the inspector is a human or a dog.