Patrons claim they are being bitten by mysterious bug at upscale Chicago restaurant

by nobugsonme on September 8, 2008

in bed bug bites, bed bugs, chicago, illinois, usa

Some patrons of an upscale Chicago restaurant (Japonais, in the River North neighborhood) claim to have received what they think are insect bites during recent dining experiences.

CBS 2 reports,

[Customer Sharon] O’Brien filed a complaint about Japonais with the health department. She says after eating here last Friday, she awoke the next morning with between 75 and 100 bites on her legs. The same thing happened to her co-worker, Holly Oliveri, who had eaten there one night later. Both women had dined outside at street level.

O’Brien and Oliveri were sitting in the same area.

The article says there were three dozen flying insects on the restaurant’s first floor dining area. There could have been insects outside.

CBS also heard from viewers who dined at the restaurant, after airing a story on this:

One was sent by Talia Light, who said she ate at Japonais this past Tuesday.

“I’ve had a lot of mosquito bites. I’m from the Midwest, every summer it happens,” Light said. “But these feel different to me.”

O’Brien’s doctor said she was bitten by fleas or bed bugs. Oliveri said her doctor told her she suffered spider or mosquito bites.

Director of Arthropods at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum Vincent Olivares said it’s possible mites may be playing a role in the incidents.

But why mites and not bed bugs?

Despite dining outside, there’s no reason you can’t be bitten by bed bugs.

The restaurant seems convinced this is a mosquito issue, according to the CBS report.

However, I have gone camping in mosquito-infested areas. Getting 75-100 mosquito bites during a single meal — and not seeing mosquitos doing the damage — seems improbable to me. You would certainly notice 75 mosquitos biting your legs.

(I wonder if you would not also feel the effects of 75-100 bed bug bites if they occurred during a short period of time and you were awake. But we do know people can be bitten by bed bugs while awake and have no idea.)


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