WARNING: Chemicals from bug-repellant sprays can linger in homes for a year!

Warmer temperatures can lead to a flurry of unwelcome guests to our house – flies, mosquitoes, fleas, wasps, bedbugs and lice.

By Zee Media Bureau

WARNING: Chemicals from bug-repellant sprays can linger in homes for a year!
(Image for representational purposes only)

New Delhi: Our first instinctive reflex when we see any kind of insect in our homes is to instantly spray it with bug-repellant. The strong-smelling sprays may do make you uncomfortable, but they do their job and the smell fades away after a while.

However, scientists have meted out a warning saying that the smell fading away doesn’t mean you get rid of the harmful chemicals too. In fact, chemicals present in bug- repellent sprays can linger in the dust in our homes for as long as a year, posing a health hazard – especially among children and pets – due to prolonged exposure to pesticides.

Warmer temperatures can lead to a flurry of unwelcome guests to our house – flies, mosquitoes, fleas, wasps, bedbugs and lice.

Pyrethroids are a common pesticide used to repel these pests, and even though they have been found more or less safe for mammals in laboratory studies, they can cause skin irritation, headache, dizziness and nausea for more sensitive individuals.

Since the active ingredients of household pesticides are often the same as those used in agriculture, researchers wanted to find out if laboratory studies are truly representative of what happens in a home.

Researchers from the the Biological Institute in Brazil found that when used outdoors, microorganisms, rain or sprinklers, and sunlight act to break down the pesticide’s chemical compounds fairly quickly.

The chemicals in pyrethroid pesticides adhere to cloth, tiled floors and wood differently than they would to outdoor surfaces.

By running concurrent experiments – one in a controlled laboratory and the other in a test house – researchers found that the pesticides used in the controlled experiment broke down more quickly than those in the test house, with 70 percent of cypermethrin, a pyrethroid pesticide, still found in dust samples around the house after one year.

Researchers said that the persistence of pesticides inside buildings, on surfaces and in the dust in houses can be viewed in a couple of different ways.

On the one hand, when using pesticide products in the home, fewer applications should still maintain a long-term control of pests.

On the other hand, extended persistence increases the likelihood that residents will be exposed to the pesticide, which can be especially worrying for young children and household pets, who spend more time on the floor and are frequently picking up things and putting them in their mouths.

The findings, published in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, highlight the importance of further studies to evaluate the actual risks of human exposure to pyrethroids when present in dust and on miscellaneous surfaces.

#Bug repellants
#Chemicals in bug sprays
#Pyrethroids
#Pesticides
#health news

 

Bed bugs are a problem in these Florida cities

   Zach Dennis Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Looking to avoid bed bugs? It may be best to stay clear of certain Florida cities.

 

Orkin released a ranking of the top 50 cities with the biggest bed bug problems, and Tampa (31), Orlando/Daytona Beach/Melbourne (38), and Miami/Fort Lauderdale (43) made the list.  This was Orlando’s first time back on the list since 2011.

 

The top five worst offenders were Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., New York City and Columbus, Ohio.

 

According to the news release, Orkin compiled the list by ranking the cities by the number of bed bug treatments that the company has serviced throughout 2015, both residential and commercial.

“Bed bugs are the great hitchhiker of the bug world, and they are very difficult to control without professional help,” Orkin Entomologist and Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D., said in a release. “Bed bugs can travel in luggage and other personal belongings to enter your home. They don’t just hide in beds – they can be found in furniture, bed posts, rugs and even electrical outlets.”

 

Orkin advises you to survey your hotel room for signs of infestation, lift and look in hiding spots for bed bugs, elevate luggage on a rack, examine luggage before or after a trip, and place all dryer-safe clothing in a dryer at the hottest temperature advised following a trip to avoid bed bugs.

 

BuzzFeed HQ Evacuated After Bedbug Infestation

Employees at the internet media company BuzzFeed were asked to go home after their Manhattan headquarters was found to have developed an infestation of bedbugs.

“We are acting out of an abundance of caution and asking you to work from home tomorrow to give facilities the chance to deal with this in the fastest and environmentally safest manner,” chief communications officer Carole Robinson wrote in an email to staff, Poynter reported.

In a post entitled ‘BuzzFeed Has A Bed Bugs Outbreak And We’re All Being Totally Mature About It,’ the company attempts to make light of the situation by posting a series of memes and photos of staff dealing with the situation.

I always thought the first rule of having bed bugs is you don’t talk about having bed bugs

View image on Twitter

The BF newsroom after an email goes out telling everyone to stay home because we have bed bugs 😳

Photo published for Bedbugs infestation breaks out at BuzzFeed

Bedbugs infestation breaks out at BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed employees will be working from home thanks to a newly discovered infestation of bedbugs, according to an email to the staff this morning from Carole Robinson, chief communications officer …

poynter.org

“We have every expectation that it will be all clear to re-enter the office and resume normal course of business by Friday morning,” Robinson added.

You can follow Ben Kew on Facebook, on Twitter at @ben_kew, or email him at bkew@breitbart.com

Charleston firefighters face rash of bedbug infestations

Kill them with fire

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  • FLICKR USER CHARLES LEBLANC

As if battling blazes wasn’t enough, Charleston firefighters at three local stations have been relocated due to bedbug infestations.

First popping up at Station 20 on Daniel Island, firefighters there were temporarily relocated while professional contractors inspected and cleaned the station, according to a statement released by Chief Fire Marshal Michael Julazadeh.

“Upon completion of the process, crews returned to the station, but still observed signs of infestation. Crews were again relocated as the professional contractor applied another treatment. Information was distributed to the department outlining recommended preventive measures to reduce the spread of the pests,” wrote Julazadeh. “Due to employee concerns about the residual effects of the pesticides used, the department’s health and safety officer researched and located a mitigation effort that uses high heat to eradicate the pests. This effort was applied to Station 20 and a professional cleaning company was brought in to deep clean the station. Crews returned to Station 20 this week and a bug was located on Sunday. It has yet to be confirmed as a bedbug but the crew was relocated back to Station 18 as a precautionary measure.”

In addition to the lingering infestation on Daniel Island, fire stations 7 and 13 on James Island have also been home to bedbugs in recent weeks. According to Julazadeh, a specially-trained hound was brought in to detect bedbugs in the buildings. In the meantime, fire crews have been relocated to temporary shelters set up outside of Station 13.

The Charleston Fire Department has hired a professional pest control company to treat Station 20 and Interim Chief John Tippett has directed all city fire stations to be inspected by the bedbug-sniffing dog to ensure that they are free of infestation.

“This isn’t something we ever want our firefighters to have to go through or are happy about them enduring,” Tippett said Monday. “But, as always, our members have more than risen to the occasion, and really been remarkable every step of the way. They know that this job is ultimately about saving lives and property, as we saw just this morning with the fire at the Ashley Marina. The men and women of this department aren’t about to let this or any other problem get in the way of that duty.”

According to the department, bedbug infestations have been a growing issue across the region. Four Myrtle Beach fire stations experienced a similar issue in 2015, and Berkeley County EMS dealt with an infestation earlier this year.

In the most recent “Top 50 Bedbug Cities” list compiled annually by pest control company Orkin, the Greenville-Spartanburg area ranked 25th based on the highest rates of bedbug treatments, while Myrtle Beach ranked 39th in the nation.

 

#CharlsstonFDP

#Bedbugs

Some seniors at bed bug-infested complex in downtown Long Beach are forced out

Plymouth West tenants and a renters’ rights group rally for those who have been evicted from a Section 8 property in downtown in Long Beach. (Photo by Thomas R. Cordova, Press-Telegram/SCNG)
Plymouth West tenants and a renters’ rights group rally for those who have been evicted from a Section 8 property in downtown in Long Beach. (Photo by Thomas R. Cordova, Press-Telegram/SCNG)
Ron Wingard, right, and Bill Logan, left, protest in front of the Plymouth West residents rally behind seniors who have been evicted from a Section 8 property in downtown in Long Beach. (Photo by Thomas R. Cordova, Press-Telegram/SCNG)Ron Wingard, right, and Bill Logan, left, protest in front of the Plymouth West residents rally behind seniors who have been evicted from a Section 8 property in downtown in Long Beach. (Photo by Thomas R. Cordova, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

 

 

 

 

 

Seniors living in a subsidized housing complex in downtown Long Beach claim management has threatened residents with eviction — and in some cases followed through — when they were unable to prepare their units for bed bug extermination.

Three tenants of Plymouth West have been evicted on these grounds since 2015, though others have been put on notice, or threatened with eviction, to encourage compliance; four other tenants have been evicted this year due to monetary issues, management of the building confirmed.

A Plymouth West resident, Gary Shelton, 68, said he is on his third round of bed bug treatment after the first two didn’t work.

And he’s not alone.

Over the past 12 months, 84 of the 196 units in Plymouth West tower have been treated for bed bugs, and 19 of those have undergone multiple treatments, according to figures provided by Kent Davis, president of Lomco, the firm that owns and manages the 11-story building at 240 Chestnut Ave.

The preparation for eradicating the pests involves removing all clothing and linens from closets, dressers, and drawers and running it through a dryer cycle for one hour on high heat. All linens then must be sealed in a plastic bag. All shelves, including entertainment centers and bookshelves, need to be emptied. And everything needs to be placed in the bathroom or kitchen.

“It’s difficult, disruptive and causes extreme stress on the tenants,” Shelton said. “But, the end result is, if they can’t do it, they will be kicked out.”

Plymouth West is home to seniors over the age of 62, many of whom are on fixed incomes and rely on Section 8 housing assistance.

Davis said the bed bug issues is an epidemic in Long Beach, and other urban centers with an aging housing stock. He said management has been trying to eradicate the pests from the building for the past seven years.

“As a landlord, all I want to do is solve the problem,” he began, explaining that if he doesn’t handle the issue quickly, bed bugs can spread to other units in the building. “We need to be vigilant in mitigating this problem because if we do not, then we are out of compliance with health and safety codes, but more likely, are potentially subject to a liability.”

Davis said between 2013 and 2016, Lomco has spent approximately $400,000 on exterminations at Plymouth West.

After hearing some of the tenants’ concerns, Jorge Rivera, of tenants’ rights advocacy group Long Beach Residents Empowered (LiBRE), organized a demonstration outside the building Tuesday afternoon.

About a dozen tenants in walkers and wheelchairs joined in, chanting and waving signs that read “Housing is a Human Right,” “People over Profit,” and “Bring Jack Back.”

The Jack they are referring to is a former tenant, Jack Awad, who was recently evicted for non-compliance and is now living at City Center motel.

Rivera said he helped Awad prep his apartment for the bed bug treatment for some 12 hours.

“I personally helped him pack up his things,” Rivera said. “I have photos to show everything was in bags and ready to go, except for a few bulky items still in the closet that were too heavy to move. When they knocked on the door and saw the few items, they evicted him for noncompliance.”

Davis disputed that account.

“LiBRE is trying to make it look like we are treating seniors in a way that is not right and that is completely unfair,” he said. “Lomco has been around for over 50 years. We have an incredibly good reputation for how we work with our seniors.”

Lomco owns and manages two other Long Beach senior housing properties, Providence Gardens and City View, as well as nine other buildings in Orange, Los Angeles and Ventura counties, with a combined total of over 2,000 units.

Shelton, who has lived at Plymouth West for just over six years, says he believes tenants are afraid to report problems to management because they fear they will be retaliated against. He said some are also afraid to report bed bugs because they know how grueling the preparation process can be.

“We’re a population of seniors all over the age of 62, many with illnesses and disabilities,” he said. “All we want is for management to change its pattern of behavior and offer to work with us to solve these issues.”

Harry Havgitian, president of the Resident Advocate Network at Plymouth West, said he organized about a dozen residents who are trying to advocate on behalf of the tenants.

“I’m not afraid to stand up for these people,” he said. “Somebody has to do it.”

Lomco’s law firm, Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP put Havgitian on final notice in March for being “verbally abusive” to management staff, and said if he continued his “bullying” behavior, his tenancy would be terminated.

Margaret “Peg” Hennessy, a retired social worker and Havgitian’s caretaker, on Tuesday urged the City Council to address the issue, which she described as “elder abuse” – not in the physical sense, she said, but from a mental and psychological standpoint.

“Being threatened to end up on the streets if you’re not a silent, non-assertive person is very damaging,” she said. “We no longer have community space to organize and talk because our common area is infested with bed bugs, and they are also telling us to stay out of each others’ apartments because that can track the bugs. We feel like we’re being treated like fifth graders.”

Davis said management is trying its best to control the problem.

“If somebody’s got a better way, I’m open minded to ways to address that,” he said. “Caring for seniors is what we do, and we want to provide the best living situation possible.”

Housing authority embroiled in financial battle with bedbugs

By MEGAN SCHULLER – mschuller@shawmedia.com

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Eric Ginnard – eginnard@shawmedia.com

Officials from the Housing Authority of Joliet claimed they have taken steps to combat the bedbug scourge plaguing resident of a downtown building.

“Back in October, we knew it was a problem that was growing. We tried to treat it and get ahead of it,” said Mark Jakielski, chief operating officer of the public housing program,.

Jakielski and other officials addressed residents’ concerns at a Wednesday afternoon meeting.

The Joliet Housing Authority entered into a contract around then with its exterminating company for $60,000 to cover a 12-month period, Jakielski said.

In the past eight months, that contract has more than doubled to roughly $137,000, he said.

Based on the 12-month projection, the board is looking at an expected $205,000 cost just to handle the bedbugs.

“We are going to continue the education process with the residents because it does seem to have a very positive impact,” Jakielski said. “We’re not climbing on something that’s impossible to treat, but we don’t want to see it go any higher. It would be ideal if it was zero.

“But knowing what’s being faced by us and the rest of the county it’s going to be hard if we continue to have residents that are not compliant.”

Jakielski said he isn’t blaming residents, but instead said that it is a partnership between the management company and residents that needs to be reinforced.

“And we’re being cognizant of the fact people do have mental disabilities, and people with dementia, so we can’t say they’re not cooperating because what you say on Monday they won’t remember,” Commissioner Robert Hernandez told to the board Wednesday.

Melody Woods, one of the caretakers of 98-year-old Murphy Building resident Paulette Robinson, spoke up out of concern for her friend and for the residents.

“These people are supposed to be in their golden years and they should be living the best years of their life but they can’t sleep,” Woods said. “If you wouldn’t want your parents to live like that, please don’t expect anybody else’s to live like that.”

Hernandez questioned Jakielski on the condition of the laundry room and how often it is cleaned after visiting the John C. Murphy complex early Wednesday morning.

“When I was up there I was taken by surprise. I was standing next to two plastic bags wide open. Infected bags were left wide open. They can get in other peoples clothes,” Hernandez said. “I was already exposed, it didn’t even dawn on me.”

Residents also were upset that not all of them received a letter regarding a semiannual meeting where they can voice their opinion. Jakielski said that it is part of their outreach to residents and that it was not meant to single residents out.

“We know there’s going to be issues and we’re trying to prepare to deal with that,” Hernanadez said.

John Chow, the housing auhtority’s chief of development and operations at the Housing Authoiruty of Joliet, said that “aggressive measures” have been undertaken.

“As far as our effort since the peak infestation period in September and October, we have taken very aggressive measures. Financially we are going to triple the budget. Education-wise, we are very proactive with our management staff, the frontline staff and the residents,” Chow said.

Chow said it’s unclear why Robinson’s unit continues to get infested, but also said that a detailed log of every unit is kept to track when every unit is inspected.

“In this particular case, it’s unfortunate because it’s a repeated case and they keep coming up. Ms. Wood said she doesn’t think the contractor is properly doing that process.
If that’s the case, that they aren’t doing the job, then believe me – I’m going to get to why that’s not done,” Chow said.

Zika Mosquitoes Are in More Places Than You Thought, CDC Says

 

The mosquitoes that carry Zika virus, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever are more common across the United States than previously believed, federal experts reported Tuesday.

Updated maps for 2016 show the Aedes aegypti mosquito in 38 counties where it wasn’t found before — a 21 percent increase, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

States especially affected include California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Florida and other Gulf states, the mid-Atlantic states, as well as big cities such as Chicago, where the mosquitoes keep getting brought back, the CDC said.

The newly discovered populations don’t necessarily mean that Aedes aegypti is newly arrived. It more likely is being found because of better surveillance, the CDC said.

“Most of the states have intensified their surveillance efforts in the past year,” CDC research biologist Rebecca Eisen told NBC News.

Zika arrived in Brazil in 2013 or 2014 and has rapidly spread across the Americas, carried by infected travelers who transmit it to local mosquito populations. The main carrier is Aedes aegypti, a mostly tropical mosquito. A cousin, the Aedes albopictus, also known as the Asian tiger mosquito, can also carry Zika but it’s not been shown to be a major source of transmitting Zika to people.

The CDC also showed that Aedes albopictus is more common than previously believed, however. It’s been found in 127 new counties, a 10 percent increase over 2015, the team reported in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

Mosquitoes spread all sorts of viruses, including West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis. Different species spread different viruses. CDC’s worried about Zika because it causes profound birth defects in babies born to women infected while they are pregnant.

So far, 1,883 pregnant women in the 50 U.S. states have been reported infected with Zika, and 80 babies have been born with birth defects or have miscarried or been aborted because of severe, Zika-related birth defects in the U.S.

Just because a county has reported finding mosquitoes doesn’t necessarily mean they are common there or that they are carrying any viruses, Eisen stressed. Sometimes a single mosquito has been found in a trap filled with other species of mosquito that don’t spread Zika, dengue or yellow fever.

And states with no evidence of Aedes species are not necessarily completely in the clear, either. Just because a mosquito has not been trapped doesn’t mean it’s not there.

For instance, Missouri, Georgia and parts of Florida should have more evidence of Aedes mosquitoes than have been found, the CDC team said.

Mosquitoes only travel a few hundred yards in their lifetimes but they can hitch rides in tropical plant containers and in tires.

“One method that we think is important is the transport of new tires,” Eisen said. “Tire recycling facilities are also associated with these species.”

Mosquitoes lay their eggs right above the water line in containers and in tires. The eggs stay stuck there until the tire or container fills up with water again.

If the mosquito larvae hatch and if the temperature is warmer than 50 degrees, they’ll survive. Aedes albopictus can survive even cooler temperatures, and mosquitoes can overwinter in sewers, heated garages, unused basements, bathrooms and elsewhere — even in places as far north as Chicago.

The CDC’s advice for preventing mosquito bites:

  • Empty anything that can hold water where mosquitoes might breed, and that includes pet dishes, roof gutters and even bottle caps
  • Wear protective clothing including long sleeves and trousers
  • Use a DEET-based insect repellent when outside (CDC has a list of good ones)
  • Stay inside behind screens during mosquito weather

Why Zika Is This Year’s Scary Virus

By 

It is “spreading explosively” in the Americas and may be the next public health emergency.

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Young people shy away from a municipal worker who is spraying insecticide to kill mosquitoes that might carry the Zika virus in Recife, Brazil. On Thursday, the World Health Organization announced that it will form an emergency committee to combat the virus.
PHOTOGRAPH BY FELIPE DANA, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Scary new viruses emerge abruptly in our modern world, provoking stark headlines and demands for bold government action—but in most cases the causes are complex and have developed, unnoticed, over years or decades. That’s true again for Zika, a virus unknown to most people until recent days, and now suddenly the subject of somber warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, which announced on Thursday that the virus is “spreading explosively.” The alarm stems from an epidemic of birth defects in Brazil, which may be linked with Zika virus infection of mothers during pregnancy. Amid this furor, it’s worth distinguishing fact from supposition and placing the Zika phenomenon in a broader context.

This virus was first isolated in Uganda in 1947, within a small enclave called Zika Forest, near the west shore of Lake Victoria, where researchers from the Rockefeller Foundation were studying yellow fever. Ironically, the earliest known victim of Zika virus infection in Africa was an Asian macaque—a rhesus monkey, set out in a cage in a treetop as bait for the mosquitoes that carry yellow fever virus. Instead of that virus, its blood yielded this new thing, dubbed Zika. The virus had never been seen before, but it had probably lurked chronically in African monkeys, or some other native reservoir, for millennia. The same virus later turned up, in the same forest, within mosquitoes of the Aedes genus, and those mosquitoes are now identified as vectors of Zika, transmitting the virus from host to host when they bite.

Eventually it was found infecting people, too, not just in Africa but also in Asia—from Senegal to Cambodia, in fact, a wide range throughout which Aedes mosquitoes reside. The symptoms, such as headache, fever, a rash, bloodshot eyes, were generally mild. Then, in 2007, Zika virus caused more than a hundred cases on Yap, a tiny island in the southwestern Pacific, having somehow gotten there from the Asian mainland. Aedes mosquitoes were present on Yap and passed the virus from one victim to another. But no one suffered badly enough to be hospitalized. Six years later, Zika emerged more dramatically in French Polynesia, sending an estimated 28,000 people (11 percent of the population) into medical care. Among 72 patients with severe neurological symptoms, 40 contracted Guillain-Barré syndrome, a dangerous autoimmune dysfunction, sometimes triggered by infection. That was the first signal that Zika virus infection could be dire.

The second signal came in April of last year, with a spate of Zika virus infections diagnosed in northeastern Brazil—a new location for the virus, on the South American mainland, and with a huge population of susceptible humans now within reach. Worse news came in October: a drastic increase in cases of microcephaly (smallness of head, linked to incomplete brain development) among infants born to mothers in the northeast. Amniotic fluid from at least two of those mothers contained evidence for the presence of Zika virus, suggesting (but not proving) the link between Zika and microcephaly. As the numbers rose further and anxiety grew, the WHO and the CDC issued warnings, and the WHO called a meeting for February 1, to consider proclaiming Zika a public health emergency. Alas, as we saw during the Ebola events of 2014, such a declaration doesn’t necessarily trigger a coordinated and efficacious international response.

This is a story of biogeography as well as medicine and public health, and of the consequences of human travel and transport. How did Zika virus get to Brazil? Possibly it traveled in the blood of athletes—when competitors from French Polynesia and other Pacific islands came to Rio de Janeiro, in August 2014, for the Va’a World Sprint Championship in outrigger canoeing. (Some commentators have wondered whether the 2014 World Cup in soccer brought Zika to Brazil, but that extravaganza included no teams from Pacific islands.) Still, bringing the virus was one thing; spreading it was another.

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Mother Solange Ferreira bathes her son Jose Wesley in Poco Fundo, Brazil. Jose has microcephaly, a condition suspected to be caused by the Zika virus.
PHOTOGRAPH BY FELIPE DANA, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Vectors were necessary, for transmitting it from human to human. One competent mosquito (Aedes aegypti, commonly called the yellow fever mosquito) is an African creature that probably hitchhiked to the Americas on sailing ships at the time of the slave trade. Another, known as the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), arrived more recently, reaching not just South and Central America but also the southern United States, probably by way of egg-laden water amid shipments of used tires from Asia. If those mosquitoes hadn’t been transplanted by human activity, decades and centuries before Zika virus, then the virus itself couldn’t have taken hold here between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

What next? Urgent concern for all pregnant women, or women who may become pregnant, of course, not just in Brazil but throughout all the warmer zones of this hemisphere, wherever Aedes mosquitoes are present. The WHO has cautioned that Zika is likely to spread throughout the Americas, except for Canada and Chile. Additional cases of Zika virus infection have already occurred in Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador, Mexico, and other South and Central American countries, and several of those countries, including El Salvador, Jamaica, and Colombia, have already advised women to delay pregnancy.

Zika infections carried by travelers have been brought back to Minnesota, New York, Hawaii (where a microcephalic baby was born), and other states in the U.S. The question about such cases, in the U.S. or elsewhere, is: Will infected people infect Aedes mosquitoes, who will infect other people? It’s big question, given that the Asian tiger mosquito is now also present across southern Europe, including much of Italy, and both the tiger mosquito and the yellow fever mosquito inhabit most Asian cities. By one account, more than half the humans on Earth live within areas infested by Aedes mosquitoes. Public health officials will need to be vigilant in reducing the opportunities—in the form of standing water near human habitations—for those mosquitoes to lay eggs that mature to adulthood. They will need also to be sensitive to social realities: You can’t simply tell poor, disempowered women without access to birth control means, “Don’t get pregnant.”

Bottom line: This is not something that is merely happening to us, a cosmic misfortune, a one-off event over which we must get up on our hind legs and howl at our governments for insufficient diligence. It is, on the contrary, a result of things we do as a modern society—traveling, transporting people and things speedily around the globe, having babies to the point where there are more than seven billion of us on this planet, so that we now represent an irresistible resource for any virus that can adapt to preying upon us—and it’s part of a longer, broader pattern. In 2012, MERS coronavirus emerged from Saudi Arabia, stirring our concerns. In 2014 it was Ebola, blazing out of West Africa in search of a larger host base. Next year it will be virus X, and the year after, virus Y. This year it is Zika.

 

Landlord Responsibility for Bed Bugs

How to handle a bed bug problem in your rental unit.

By

Bed bug problem? It happens to even the best of apartments. Bed bugs can catch a ride in your suitcase or used furniture (beware of second hand mattresses!) or on your clothing. The critters can even travel from another apartment in your building.  If you’re not sure if you have bed bugs (maybe it’s fleas from your dog?), check out the article How to Identify a Bed Bug Infestation by a Virginia Tech professor. And if you really want to know everything about bed bugs, check out the website BedBugCentral and see the EPA Bed Bug Information section.

Here’s how to deal with a bed bug infestation.   (Hint: A can of Raid is not going to do the job.)

 

Report the Bed Bug Problem to Your Landlord

If you suspect bed bugs, contact your landlord or manager right away. Your landlord should bring in a qualified exterminator to inspect for and measure the concentration of bed bugs in your rental (and also adjoining units).  Your landlord should give you proper notice of entry for the exterminator’s inspection.

Some states, such as Maine, have specific laws on the books covering landlord and tenant duties regarding bed bug infestations. See the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures for a list of state bed bug laws.

Get Ready for an Exterminator’s Inspection

Try to get information  beforehand what to expect from an inspection. Typically, a pest management professional   will examine the main bed bug site (such as your mattress and bedding), as well as look closely into drawers, closets, and shelves.  A professional will also “box” or “map” the source, and attempt to confirm where the bed bugs originated, and learn whether and how the problem has spread. Mapping the infestation may also help determine when a particular rental unit became infested, which the landlord may use to apportion financial responsibility for the extermination.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Exterminators usually recommend that tenants in bed bug-infested units take the following steps:

  • Remove all clutter.
  • Remove all items from closets, shelves, and drawers,
  • Wash all bedding and clothing (and put washed items in sealed plastic bags).
  • Thoroughly vacuum.
  • Move out during the exterminator’s treatment (you can often return the same day).
  • Destroy infested items that can’t be treated (such as a mattress).  The BedbugCentralwebsite   includes information on how to eliminate bed bug infestations and how mattress and box spring encasements may help save your mattress.

Keep in mind that if you don’t follow the exterminator’s advice, and the bed bugs reappear, you’ll have to start the whole process all over again.

Who Pays for Bed Bug Extermination and Relocation Costs

In keeping with their responsibility to provide habitable housing, landlords must pay to exterminate pests, such as bed bugs, that a tenant has not introduced. In some states such as Florida, this duty is explicit. But, determining who introduced the bed bugs (and who must foot the bill) is often very difficult in multi-unit buildings: Many tenants may be moving in and out, some may have recently traveled abroad  and brought home bed bugs, and others may have picked up used furniture that contained bed bugs. As a result, landlords (under their insurance policies) often end up footing the bill for extermination and relocation costs in properties with several rental units.    (If you rent a single-family home, especially if you are a long-term tenant, you may be more easily saddled with the cost because there won’t be any other residents to turn to).

Depending on your situation, if your landlord fails to take care of a major bed bug problem, you may be able to withhold rent or use the repair and deduct remedy to cover costs such as extermination, break your lease and move out early, or even sue the landlord for damages. See the Nolo article Tenant Options if Your Landlord Won’t Make Major Repairs for details on these options.

Eradicating bed bug infestations caused by the tenant, however, can be the tenant’s financial responsibility. If you are clearly the source of the bed bug problem, your renters’ insurance (if any) should cover the costs of moving out and replacing any ruined belongings.

Tenant’s Right to Know About a History of Bed Bug Problems in a Rental Property

Most tenants don’t want to move into a rental unit that has problems such as flooding, and several states have   laws requiring these types of landlord disclosures.   For details on states that require landlord disclosure of bed bug problems, see the Nolo article, What Landlords Need to Tell Tenants About Bed Bugs in the Building  .

 

 

HOLIDAY HELL Dad left bed bound for FOUR MONTHS after catching sickness bug on dream Thomas Cook holiday to Mexico – The Sun

Timothy Morgan spent £6,500 on the two-week holiday at the five-star Moon Palace resort in Cancun for his family

By Simon Lennon

A DAD was left bed bound for four months after catching a sickness bug on a dream Thomas Cook holiday to Mexico.

Timothy Morgan said his condition was so bad that even when he was at work he would spend his breaks sleeping at a desk.

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As well as tiredness, Timothy also had constant diarrhoea and stomach cramps for a month and lost a stone and a half in weight following a luxury holiday to Mexico.

He was later diagnosed with bacterial bug Cyclospora and the Foreign Office later issued a warning about a mass outbreak of the illness in his resort.

Timothy said: “This has been horrific. At times, I have felt like the walking dead. I have just slept and gone to work then gone back to bed. I have been too exhausted to do anything else. It has been an awful experience and very draining.

“I had to put my life on hold. Thankfully I am now back to normal but I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.”

Ford car machinist Timothy booked the £6,500 two-week holiday at the five-star Moon Palace resort in Cancun for himself and his wife Mandy, 50 and son Joseph, 18 and a pal.

The family were expecting a relaxing break with top quality dining having visited the same hotel years earlier but Timothy claimed they discovered standards had slipped soon after arriving.

The 50-year-old said: “We got checked into our room but the noise was deafening as the balcony overlooked a building site”

They changed room the following day but he says he then noticed the quality of the food wasn’t as good as their previous trip as they tried out most of the resort’s up to 15 restaurants.

He added “The quality meat wasn’t as good – you could tell they were packing people in and the luxury element was lacking.”

Timothy also said the outside lunchtime eating areas were plagued by birds.

While there in August last year they met up with another family from near their home and were surprised when they learned their son had fallen ill and was confined to his room as a result.

Timothy added: “I thought it was just a case of over indulgence or too much sun and thought nothing more of it.”

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A few days later he himself fell ill and put it down to the weather but on the last day as they flew home he said the illness really took hold with stomach cramps, sickness and diarrhoea.

He said: “The journey home was horrific I was up and down to the toilet like a yo yo. It was the worst flight ever – I had the cramps and then diarrhoea; it was awful. I have never felt so bad.”

Following tests, he was later diagnosed with Cyclospora and put on antibiotics and the diarrhoea stopped only to be replaced with extreme fatigue.

Timothy – a season ticket holder and regular at Swansea AFC football club didn’t have the energy to watch a match and couldn’t even take the dog for a walk such was his tiredness.

The dad from Port Talbot added: “It is very hard to explain but I was totally drained. It was just work then bed and that was it.”

His wife then started researching the bug and she later contacted Thomas Cook about his ordeal but after a series of unsatisfactory responses he decided he had no choice but to take legal action.

Nolan Mortimer Head of Travel at Simpson Millar solicitors is handling his claim and has been inundated with calls from people struck ill with Cyclospora in Mexico while travelling with Thomas Cook and other tour operators.

When contacted, a Thomas Cook spokesperson said: “We want our customers to have the best possible time on holiday, so we are sorry to hear that Mr Morgan was ill.

“We take all reports of illness seriously and we are investigating this case thoroughly.”