The Jersey Journal reported today that two rooms at the Meadowview Psychiatric Hospital in Secaucus, New Jersey have been vacant since bed bugs were found in them:
A patient in Room 306 of the Meadowview Psychiatric Hospital reported a bite on Jan. 11 and subsequent testing revealed that there was a bedbug infestation in Room 306 and bedbugs were found in Room 307 as well, Hudson County spokesman Jim Kennelly said.
The patients were removed from those two rooms, Kennelly said, and the rooms have been vacant since.
The rooms were treated by an exterminator, but when officials checked the rooms in mid-February, one bedbug was found in each room. Kennelly said the county policy is to quarantine a room 30 days when bedbugs are discovered.
Kennelly added that the second testing of the rooms revealed the presence of bedbugs, but not to the level of an infestation. A third test of the rooms will be conducted in mid-March.
I have commented before on how definitions of “bed bug infestation” may vary from one source to another.
I am not an expert on bed bug treatment, but I wonder about the treatment process for a quarantined room.
We’re often told that if spray and dust treatments are used, humans must be present as “bait” to draw bed bugs out to cross poison and die. We don’t know all of the facts here. Perhaps active bed bug monitors are being implemented to attract the bed bugs out, in the absence of humans?
On the other hand, subjecting patients at Meadowview to life with bed bugs is not desirable — so I am not suggesting they sleep in infested rooms. (The last thing they need, on top of everything else, is to deal with bed bug bites and bug sightings.)
So this raises the question of whether other methods may be needed to treat the rooms and the items inside them, without forcing people to sleep there.
It would be possible to professionally heat treat the rooms in order to kill bed bugs in the structure and furniture.
It would also be possible to remove furniture and other items from the room for heat treatment or Vikane gas fumigation, while the room itself receives traditional spray/dust/steam treatments.
Again, even if the belongings are rendered bed bug free, the room itself will be hard to treat using traditional sprays/dusts if a human is not sleeping there as bait.
The University of Florida has been using a method of heat treating furniture and possessions in dorm rooms. (You can read about that in the Bed Bugs Manual linked from this U of Florida page.)
Note that back in December 2009, there was an ongoing problem with bed bugs in the Straight and Narrow addiction treatment center, which — at least at the time — rented space from Meadowview.
Greystone Park, another New Jersey psychiatric hospital, also reported dealing with bed bugs in December 2009.
Hospitals and health care facilities of all kinds need to get good advice on bed bug behavior, detection and treatment, to implement bed bug prevention and detection plans, and to train staff on how to detect and respond to bed bugs which will surely eventually turn up in their facilities, if they haven’t yet.