Bed bugs trouble for hospitals across Iowa and U.S.

On April third, Kasie De Camp said she was sitting in a hospital room in the orthopedic area of UIHC.

“I started noticing out from under the table– a bug crawling out from underneath,” said De Camp. “I got off the table, looked and I realized that it was a bed bug.”

De Camp snapped a couple of photos of what she saw. Bug experts at Iowa State took a look at them and concluded her suspicion– likely a bed bug or an extremely close relative, the bat bug, which can also give people those nasty bites.

“There was a lot in that room,” said De Camp. “Along the baseboard, they’re between the bed and the wall.”

Bed bugs have been a growing problem at hospitals across the country. Every few years the National Pest Management Association tracks where pest control companies head most often. In the U.S., more than a third of companies responded to bed bug infestations at hospitals in 2015, that’s up from 12% in 2010.

Officials say hospitals have three main sources:

-Emergencies, when people are picked up from their homes
-Patients’ clothing and personal items.
-People visiting patients.

The issue was bad enough in Des Moines Polk County put out these guidelines to help hospitals prevent and manage infestations.

“I mean, you never know where they’re going to show up,” said De Camp.

She reported the sighting to hospital officials who put her to another room to be safe. De Camp said staff told her they sprayed the room with insecticide, then sealed it for three days.

UIHC sent KCRG-TV9 this statement about the incident:

“With thousands of people and hundreds of shipments arriving in our hospital every day, we understand there is a higher risk for this type of issue to occur… We follow CDC recommendations to prevent and treat when bugs are suspected, and work closely with pest control experts.”

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