Portsmouth NH’s Health Officer proactive about bed bugs

by nobugsonme on April 12, 2007 · 3 comments

in bed bugs, new hampshire, new york, usa

In “Health Official: Don’t let the bed bugs bite,” we’re told that Portsmouth, NH health officer Kim McNamara has only had a “few isolated cases” of bed bugs reported to her office. But she gets bed bugs, and she’s being proactive about warning readers of today’s Seacoast Online about where and how they can be picked up. Except for a few isolated geographic areas (hello Lexington, KY!) we don’t see a lot of cities stepping up to the plate on this one. Bed bugs are a problem everywhere, from Lexington to Halifax, from the Yukon to San Francisco, Iceland to Reunion Island. (I am naming just a sampling of places our regular readers come from.)

McNamara said she has been “proactive” by sending notices to the city’s used-furniture stores, apartment complex managers and public laundry facilities, warning of the possibility of bed bugs.

This is a good start. The article says all the bed bug cases known to the city were in residences. Note to Seacoasters: the city may not know about all of the cases. New York City, relying on complaints against non-responsive landlords, rather than actual infestations, sure doesn’t.

1 Paula April 12, 2007 at 2:33 pm

Maybe landlords are scared to admit they have them after people are threatening to sue. If law suits were not involved, action maybe taken quicker.
I have a guesthouse and have had the problem, but I have took every step to get rid of them. After all, it was most probable that a guest brought them to my house-it scares me when I hear of law suits being filed in America on hotels. As long as they try their best to sort the problem, this should not happen.

People want to carry on putting poisons downs to kill them even there is no more sign of them. You don’t know who is going to walk in your house with them.

2 nobugsonme April 12, 2007 at 2:50 pm

HI Paula,

I think everyone here is glad to hear of guesthouse owners, hotel managers, and landlords who wish to deal with the problem swiftly.

I think that’s key, and I also believe that courts would consider seriously if you had records of having bee proactive about treating and using preventative measures (especially regular professional inspections). I think inspecting carefully is important.

Landlords and hotel owners can be victims of guests bringing pests in, but you have to train staff to spot signs and you need regular PCO inspections. If you’re doing those things, I don’t think a court will fault you.

You also have to understand that people who pick bed bugs up in a hotel are even bigger victims than you, the hotel owner: they spent a night in your lodgings and may have paid you so they could take the bugs home and create a full infestation. So hotel staff have to act preventatively, hotel guests have to do their part, but no one can pass the blame entirely on another.

And, as I am sure you’re aware, there are hotel owners and landlords who don’t do anything proactive, and in fact ignore problems once they are pointed out. Some of the most publicised lawsuits have exposed hotel managers who knew a room was infested and did nothing, and even rented the room. When a guest complains of 100 bites, and there’s evidence in the room to prove they could not have brought in such a massive infestation (the day before), then one has to wonder if previous guests did not also complain about the same rooms.

With landlords and hotel managers, there’s a big difference between responsible and irresponsible management, and I think you can’t generalize about these things. If you are being responsible and proactive and acting to prevent the problem, you will hold up better in court, should you ever have the misfortune of a bed bug lawsuit.

3 willow-the-wisp April 12, 2007 at 6:23 pm

Hi Paula, thanks so much for surfing in! I got bedbugs about six weeks ago. When I saw how the possibilities of how or when and even why I got them were so endless; I quickly dropped the idea and became more proactive in just getting rid of them as responsibly as I could, and without putting any extra needless exposure upon my neighbors as best as I could. (I’m in a hotel in SF.)

I hope other states take the NH lead–residence by residence–guest-house by guest-house if need be, to: a) proactively protect the premises BEFORE any possible infestation occurs, and b) keep up using preventative methods—not necessarily just poisons–to do so.
I’d put money down on a bet that you’ve already taken the time to read our growing work-in-progress FAQ’s on the bed bugs. Our ever growing do’s and don’t s FAQ’s and the info on the pest itself is fascinating, yet those dirty little disease carrying pests still seem to be spreading tenfold over the continent. “The first quick fix idea panicking people choose, should they be unfortunate enough to have found Bed bugs on their premises are likely to be the wrong or a bad idea. But you, Paula, you have:
Should I ever have the need to visit your lovley state again, you’ll be the first to know!
Thanks for your positive inspiring note!


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