Hong Kong warns residents not to kiss pets after dog contracts coronavirus

Pomeranian tested a ‘weak positive’ for virus after owner was infected, authorities say.

The Guardian | by Helen Davidson | March 4, 2020

Hong Kong authorities have warned people to avoid kissing their pets, but also to not panic and abandon them after a dog repeatedly tested “weak positive” for coronavirus.

The Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said experts unanimously agreed the results suggested the dog had “a low-level of infection and it is likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission”.

The Pomeranian’s owner was infected with Covid-19 but the dog itself was not showing symptoms, authorities said.

Medical experts, including from the World Health Organization (WHO), had been investigating the case to determine if the dog was actually infected or had picked it up from a contaminated surface. The WHO has said there is no evidence animals like dogs or cats can be infected with the coronavirus.

“Pet owners need not be overly concerned and under no circumstances should they abandon their pets,” said Hong Kong’s department of agriculture.

Authorities warned pet owners in the city, where 103 people have been infected with Covid-19 and thousands are in self-quarantine, not to panic.

“Pet owners are reminded to adopt good hygiene practices (including hand washing before and after being around or handling animals, their food, or supplies, as well as avoiding kissing them) and to maintain a clean and hygienic household environment,” the department said.

“People who are sick should restrict contacting animals. If there are any changes in the health condition of the pets, advice from a veterinarian should be sought as soon as possible.”

The Society for the Protection of Animals in Hong Kong said being infected was not the same as being infectious, and capable of spreading the virus.

“While the information tells us that the dog has a low-level of infection members of the public should note that the dog is showing no symptoms whatsoever. We have been informed the dog is currently very healthy and doing well at the quarantine centre.”

The world organisation for animal health also emphasised there was no evidence pets spread the disease, or even get sick themselves.

“There is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare,” it said.

The Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department has been contacted for further details.

The animal was first tested on 26 February and showed low levels of the virus the following day. Tests were repeated on 28 February and 2 March, returning “weak positive” results.

It was in quarantine and would continue to be tested until it returned a negative result, and could be returned to its owner, the department said.

NY Governor Cuomo declares state of emergency – Corona virus cases rose to 89

WGRZ2 | ALBANY, N.Y. — Governor Andrew Cuomo held a news conference Saturday afternoon with the latest information regarding confirmed cases of COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus, in New York State.

During the news conference Cuomo also declared a state of emergency.

Cuomo announced that there are 32 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state. He updated that total to 45 new cases and 89 total across New York State, though none of those confirmed cases are here in Western New York.

The governor said hundreds of tests have been conducted so far in the state. He also gave a list of where the current cases are in New York. He said 70 cases are in Westchester County, 11 cases are in New York City, four are in Nassau County, two are in Rockland County, and two are in Saratoga County.

Out of the 89 confirmed cases; 10 people have been hospitalized.

Andrew Cuomo

@NYGovCuomo

Update: There are 13 additional cases of #Coronavirus in NYS since earlier today, bringing total to 89.

Westchester: 70
NYC: 11
Nassau: 4
Rockland: 2
Saratoga: 2

There will be more cases as we test more—that’s a good thing bc we can deal with the situation based on more facts.

There are currently 116 people in quarantine in Erie County as part of the coronavirus protocol. New York State says 115 of those quarantines are precautionary. One quarantine is mandatory. Niagara County says they have four people under voluntary quarantine.

Fertilizer, pest-control, soup: Modern-day reliance on bats makes it hard to banish their virus risk

QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK, UGANDA - AUGUST 25: A fruit bat
Bats contain the highest proportion of mammalian viruses that are likely to infect humans, according to 2017 research.BONNIE JO MOUNT/THE WASHINGTON POST VIA GETTY IMAGES

FORTUNE | by Siraphob Thanthong-Knight and Bloomberg | February 20, 2020

Every Saturday morning, a dozen or so villagers from a province about 60 miles west of Bangkok creep into a bat-festooned cave to scrape up the precious fecal deposits of its flourishing inhabitants.

In three hours, they can amass as many as 500 buckets of bat dung. The guano is packaged and sold at an adjacent temple as fertilizer, reaping more than 75,000 baht ($2,400). Just 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of the nutrient-rich material can fetch as much as the daily minimum wage.

Elsewhere in Asia and Micronesia, meat from bats is sometimes sold in markets or cooked at home after being caught in the wild. Although consumption is rare and limited to certain communities, it’s considered a local delicacy in the Pacific island-nation of Palau, and areas of Indonesia, where meat from other mammals is scarce.

With growing awareness of bat-borne viruses — from Nipah to coronaviruses linked to severe acute respiratory syndrome and the new pneumonia-causing Covid-19 disease that’s killed more than 2,000 people in China — human contact with the ancient flying mammal and their excreta is drawing closer scrutiny.

“Anything to do with bats, in theory, can expose yourself to potential viral transmission because we know bats carry so many viruses,” said Linfa Wang, who heads the emerging infectious disease program at Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School.

Bats contain the highest proportion of mammalian viruses that are likely to infect humans, according to research published in 2017 by disease ecologist Peter Daszak in the scientific journal Nature.

Still, very few bat viruses are ready to transmit directly to humans, said Wang, who has been studying bat origins of human viruses for decades and works with a group of researchers sometimes dubbed ‘The Bat Pack.’

“I always say that if they could do that, then the human population would have been wiped out a long time ago because bats have been in existence for 80-to-100 million years — much older than humans,” he said.

Special Precautions

Danger doesn’t stop with bats. Other mammals, such as civets and camels, have been found to act as intermediate hosts that can pass coronaviruses to humans. Undercooked meat and offal, milk, blood, mucus, saliva and urine of virus-carrying mammals can potentially contain pathogens.

“Viruses evolve all the time — there’s no way to know when it will mutate and become dangerous to humans,” said Supaporn Watcharaprueksadee, deputy chief at the Center for Emerging Infectious Disease of Thailand, who has studied bats for two decades. “The best prevention is to avoid the risk and reduce all risky behaviors,” she said.

At the Khao Chong Phran bat cave in the Thai province of Ratchaburi, where the bat dung is mined, there are an estimated of 3 million wrinkle-lipped free-tailed bats, an insect-eating species that produces high-nitrogen guano, essential for boosting plant growth.

No Protection

Guano collectors usually enter the cave with long sleeved shirts and long pants, with a T-shirt wrapped around their head as makeshift cover — in contrast to how disease ecologists investigate caves in a full-body suit with masks and gloves. Although dry guano has low risk of infection, miners or cave visitors can potentially be exposed to viruses through the fresh saliva and urine of bats.

It’s not a concern foremost in the minds of the cave’s guano collectors, even weeks after Thailand reported the first of its 35 Covid-19 cases.

“We’ve done this for a long time, for many generations,” said Singha Sittikul, who manages the business and fields orders. It’s a small operation trading guano locally, but such fertilizer is also sold by companies and via online commerce platforms, such as Amazon.com Inc and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. “We carry on as usual.”

Bats are highly valued in Ratchaburi, where they not only produce a potent fertilizer, but also play a role in pollination and pest-control by feeding on insects that ravage rice and other crops. Their cave has been declared an animal sanctuary. Killing or eating them is prohibited.

Bat Soup

The trade and smuggling of wild mammals, including ones that may act as intermediaries of bat-borne viruses, poses a risk. Carcasses and parts of pangolins, lions, rhinos and elephants are routinely being trafficked through Southeast Asia.

Bat expert Supaporn is expanding her research to look at pangolins as well as horseshoe bats, which may have played a role in the emergence of the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19, she said.

Smuggling Threat

The Freeland Foundation, a counter-trafficking organization, has alerted Asian nations to the direct virological threat wildlife smuggling poses to “wider human populations.”

Closing markets and refraining from consumption of the animals is the only sure way to prevent the spread and recurrence of outbreaks, it said.

“There are so many bat-borne diseases that we have yet to discover, and they can be dangerous,” said Tawee Chotpitayasunondh, a senior adviser to the Thai Ministry of Public Health. “Now is the time to discourage eating and trading them.”

New coronavirus spreads as readily as 1918 Spanish flu and probably originated in bats

Testing a sample for coronavirus

A laboratory worker at the State Health Authorities of Baden-Wuerttemberg in Germany tests a sample from a patient suspected of being infected with the new coronavirus from China. A new genetic analysis suggests the virus originated in bats.
(Marijan Murat / AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese scientists racing to keep up with the spread of a novel coronavirus have declared the widespread outbreak an epidemic, revealing that in its early days at least, the disease’s reach doubled every week.

By plotting the curve of that exponential growth and running it in reverse, researchers reckoned that the microbe sickening people across the globe has probably been passing from person to person since mid-December 2019.

Scientists in China are also closing in on the source of the aggressive new germ — bats.

The furry flying mammals may have been the original host of the coronavirus now crisscrossing the world, says one of three scientific studies released on Wednesday. But it may be another wild animal sold in Wuhan City’s Huanan Seafood Market that served up the virus to humans, who quickly began passing it to others through close contact.

The new studies, coming just five days after Chinese research teams offered their first detailed analyses of the virus known as 2019-nCoV, offer genetic and other evidence to suggest that Chinese health authorities probably caught the virus soon after it made its jump to humans. And it supports the theory that something in the Huanan market served as a bridge for the virus to cross between bats and humans.

Such evidence is consistent with the Chinese government’s public assertions about the sudden appearance and spread of a virus that has sickened as many as 9,000 and claimed at least 170 lives in China and six other countries. Chinese authorities have said they believe that Wuhan’s principal “wet market” is the cradle of the outbreak, and they have no evidence that the new virus spread earlier anywhere else.

FRANCE-HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-PASTEUR
Coronavirus: Five burning questions scientists want to answer about the outbreak
All three of the new studies — two published by the British journal Lancet and a third in the New England Journal of Medicine — were conducted by scientists working in China. And all focused on some of the first patients seen with a pneumonia caused by 2019-nCoV.

One of the studies published in Lancet probed the genetic connections among viral samples drawn from nine infected patients, eight of whom had visited the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan.

The second study in Lancet culled data on the disease progression and outcomes of 99 infected patients who were admitted to Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan with symptoms of pneumonia.

The New England Journal of Medicine study, performed by researchers at China’s leading public health agency, mapped the early spread of pneumonia cases caused by the virus and used the results to create a transmission timeline. That accounting offered the most authoritative gauge to date of the emerging epidemic’s rate of growth.

The new findings underscore the fact that it may take stern domestic measures to bring the fast-moving virus under control in China.

One of the research teams calculated that in its early stages, the epidemic doubled in size every 7.4 days. That measure, called the epidemic’s “serial interval,” reflects the average span of time that elapses from the appearance of symptoms in one infected person to the appearance of symptoms in the people he will go on to infect. In the early stages of the outbreak, each infected person who became ill is estimated to have infected 2.2 others, according to the study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

That makes the new coronavirus roughly as communicable as was the 1918 Spanish flu, which killed 50 million and became the deadliest pandemic in recorded history.

The new epidemic, however, is moving more slowly than the Spanish flu. That’s because 2019-nCoV takes longer to induce coughing, fever and breathing difficulties in a newly infected victim.

“It’s concerning that case reports are increasing, and increasing in a way that’s consistent with pretty efficient human-to-human transmission,” said Derek Cummings, a University of Florida expert in the spread of infectious diseases.

China’s Wuhan Coronavirus Spreads To South Korea
SCIENCE
Should you panic about the coronavirus from China? Here’s what the experts say
Jan. 24, 2020

While much more needs to be known about the coronavirus’ spread, the early numbers offer a glimpse of the challenge ahead, Cummings said.

To halt the growth of the virus’ spread and allow the epidemic to burn itself out, health officials in China are going to have to cut the rate at which the germ is passing from person to person by more than half. That could be done by quarantining anyone who’s ill, by closing down schools or workplaces or social gatherings, or eventually by administering a vaccine that does not currently exist.

Even under the most optimistic scenarios, Cumming said, “a lot of control needs to take place.”

China’s public health authorities acknowledged as much on Wednesday.

“Considerable efforts to reduce transmission will be required to control outbreaks if similar dynamics apply elsewhere,” a team led by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine.

They noted that reducing the spread of the new virus is made harder by the apparent presence of many mild infections. If not all who are infected get very sick — as appears to be the case — many will go out in the world and spread the virus inadvertently.

The team also cited “limited resources for isolation of cases and quarantine of their close contacts” as an impediment.

Despite suspicions prompted by its secretive management of the SARS outbreak in 2003, the Chinese government has insisted it responded quickly to the appearance of a new virus, and has held nothing back from the Chinese public or international community.

The World Health Organization has said that China notified it on Dec. 31 that the agency it was seeing cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan. Chinese authorities closed down the Huanan Seafood Market on Jan. 1. That would be only about two weeks after the virus first jumped to humans in Wuhan, if the new calculations are correct.

Health officials in China identified a novel coronavirus as the cause of the outbreak less than a week later, and on Jan. 23, the government blocked transportation in and out of Wuhan.

In an effort to stem further spread of 2019-nCoV, officials imposed a quarantine of unprecedented size and scope, shutting down transportation in and out of other cities in Hubei province, where Wuhan is located. The controversial blockade has affected about 50 million people, and has been criticized for being both too broad and too late to bottle up the virus.

On Tuesday, American officials exhorted Chinese officials to share their trove of biological samples and genetic findings with U.S. and international researchers. Within hours, the Chinese government shifted gears and asked the World Health Organization to send international experts to assist with research and help contain the epidemic.

How to avoid bringing bed bugs home from spring break

Bed bugs are the one thing you don’t want to bring home with you when you return from spring break.

Despite their name, the insects can get into all of your furniture, even air ducts, once they enter your house.

Whether you’re staying in a cheap motel or a luxurious suite, we’ve heard horror stories about these creepy crawlers stowing away and getting into your home.

Inside your hotel room or short-term rental home, bed bugs could be lurking.

“They will stay waiting for the next host to come there,” said a bed bug expert.

You don’t think you could ever bring them home, think again.

“Bed bugs do not discriminate between the rich, the poor, the clean or the dirty,”. “If you happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, you will get a bed bug and bring it home with you.”

“Bed bugs hide really well. All they do is they come out and feed for ten minutes when you’re sleeping and they come back and hide inside the bed.”

As their name suggests, they love beds and people to feed on and they’re really hard to see unless you’re looking.

Chatman went along on a house call to demonstrate how to spot them. Expert said his crew only wears suits for extreme cases.

“So we found a bed bug on the zipper part of the mattress, of the box spring encasement,” expert said. “We see this all the time.”

So what can you do to make sure you don’t bring bed bugs home with you?

First, put your luggage in the bathroom as soon as you walk in your room or rental home. You can also place suitcases and bags on a luggage rack off the floor and away from beds or couches.

Next, check the sheets, mattress, box springs and even around the headboard.

Look for dark, rust colored spots. You may even see casings the bugs leave behind and eggs along hard surfaces like a picture frame.

If you find any signs of bed bugs, you should ask for a new room immediately.

“When you come home, do not bring the luggage in your bedroom,” Stavropoulos said. “Instead, empty it out in the garage preferably. Put the clothes in a bag and launder it when you can.”

Jim says don’t let the thought of bed bugs ruin your trip. As with most things in life, there are risks.

But following these steps should put you at a good advantage of steering clear, so that the bed bugs don’t bite.

Bed bug experts say if you notice that bugs are in your home, it’s best to call an exterminator. Don’t try to get rid of them on your own. It can cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000 to treat, depending on the severity and the size of the home.

He says bed bugs can also hide in airplane seats, bus chairs, pretty much anywhere humans sit and lay their heads and they’re the most prevalent in major cities.

Loveland (Denver) Public Library Closes Floor Due To Bedbugs

LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4 DENVER) February 28, 2020 – Administrators of the Loveland Public Library have shut down the second floor of the building due to the discovery of bedbugs. The bugs were found in the computer lab by staff on Thursday morning.

Loveland Public Library

A cleanup of the area got started Friday morning and no one has reported having any ill-effects since the bugs were found. It will take two to three days for the cleanup process to be completed by exterminators. The director of the library told CBS4 on Friday after that dogs will be brought in to make sure the area is clear of the bugs.

“We’ve got beagles that will be coming out in a couple weeks to do a nose test to see if we have any live bugs left in the area,” said Diane Lapierre, the library’s director. “We’re all about public information and want to make sure people know what’s going on here and have the facts related to it and make a decision as to how they want to use the space or not.”

Lapierre believes the bugs did not make their way into their non-computer materials.

Bed bugs are nocturnal and are like mosquitoes — they feed on human blood leave itchy areas on skin they’ve bitten. Heat and chemicals are typically used to kill bedbugs. A trap, which uses other chemicals to attract the bugs, helps to count how many are in a room.

Loveland Library@LovelandLibrary

Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances, the 2nd floor of the Library is closed until further notice. This includes the iCreate Makerspace, the iExplore Computer Lab, and the iLearn Classroom. Please check our website for reopening time and more information.

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Backyard gardeners can act to help bee populations

Backyard gardeners can act to help bee populations

This photo taken July 1, 2016 shows a group of first-year honeybee hives in a pasture near Langley, Wash. Chemicals are routinely applied to kill insect pests and troublesome weeds but many are indiscriminate, devastating beneficial insects in the process. Landowners should avoid using pesticides in areas attractive to pollinators and instead use non-toxic methods to get rid of such pests as aphids. (Dean Fosdick via AP)

Chemicals are routinely applied around residential landscapes to kill insect pests and troublesome weeds, but many are indiscriminate and devastate pollinators in the process.

Pesticide contamination of lawns, gardens and waterways is widespread, and even at sub-lethal levels can impact pollinators’ foraging ability and hive productivity.

“Honeybees are not the most impacted of pollinators,” said Katie Buckley, pollinator coordinator with the Washington State Department of Agriculture. “Once-common butterfly and native bee species have become rare, with some on the verge of extinction.”

The rusty patched bumblebee, island marble butterfly, Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly and the familiar monarch butterfly were among those singled out by Buckley as greatly depleted.

Pesticides are over-applied by many backyard gardeners, said James Dill, a pest management specialist with University of Maine Extension.

“They don’t read the labels, or they eyeball the amounts,” Dill said. “Sometimes, if maybe an ounce is called for, they’ll use 2 ounces. They often will use a calendar spray schedule or just spray because they had a problem in the past.”

But well-informed gardeners can be a big help in reversing the pollinator declines, especially those caused by chemical poisoning.

Backyard gardeners can act to help bee populations

This photo taken Aug. 2, 2015 in Langley, Wash., shows a beekeeper checking her honeybee hive boxes for production and ensuring that the queen is still healthy and laying eggs for the next generation of workers. The best defense against bee poisoning is to avoid spraying plants that are in bloom. If you must use pesticides, use those with a short half-life and low toxicity to bees and other beneficial insects. (Dean Fosdick via AP)

“In general, the best defense is to avoid spraying plants that are in bloom, use pesticides that have a short half-life when possible, and use pesticides with low toxicity to bees and other beneficial insects,” Buckley said. “Whether as a farmer or a homeowner, it is critical to always read and follow the label.”

Clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam are highly toxic to honeybees by contact and ingestion, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s toxicity classification scale for bees. Thiacloprid and acetamiprid are moderately toxic, the federal agency says.

If you keep bees, finding the right apiary location is an important way to reduce pesticide exposure.

“Keeping colonies as far away from commercial agriculture as possible (4 to 5 miles) is the safest,” Dill said. “Drive around your area where you intend to keep hives and get the lay of the land so you know what you are dealing with. If you have a large, pesticide-free foraging area with diverse flowering plants nearby, that would be ideal.”

Supplying honeybees with uncontaminated water is also an effective deterrent, said Kevin Jensen, a pesticide management compliance investigator with the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

“If the bees do not have a water source in the apiary, they will be forced to look for water elsewhere during the hot months,” Jensen said. “This can result in bees being attracted to an area that is being sprayed, even though that area may not have flowers blooming in it.”

Even pesticides allowed for use in organic agriculture can harm bees and other beneficial insects like flies, beetles, moths and wasps, entomologists say.

“Homeowners should avoid using pesticides in backyards and instead use nontoxic methods such as soapy water to get rid of pests such as aphids,” said Ramesh Sagili, an associate professor-apiculture with Oregon State University.

Details of First Locally-Acquired Case of Chagas Disease in Missouri

chagas

CONTAGIONLIVE.COM | by Grant M. Gallagher | February 28, 2020

In May 2019, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published details on the first detection of Triatoma sanguisuga—the insect vector for Chagas disease causing parasites—in Delaware.

While locally-acquired Chagas disease is rare in the United States, its precise impact is hard to quantify because few states have active surveillance measures in place. However, the CDC has recommended that more states with frequent travelers to/from countries where Chagas disease is endemic (such as Bolivia) introduce surveillance measures.The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report  includes an article from Missouri health officials detailing an incident in their state in which a blood donation sample screened positive for antibodies to Chagas-causing Trypanosoma cruzi parasites. The case marks what is likely the first documented locally-acquired case of Chagas disease in Missouri.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services was first notified of a potential case of Chagas disease in a Missouri woman on December 13, 2017. The 53-year-old patient had visited her local blood donation center in October 2017. An Abbott Prism Chagas screening test indicated the blood sample positive for antibodies to T cruzi. A further confirmatory multistep enzyme strip immunoassay test also returned a positive result.

The patient was not aware of any relevant insect bites. She had briefly crossed the Mexican border 28 years prior, but did not recall any medical incidents during the trip.

After further testing, an electrocardiogram was obtained due to the potential for T cruzi infection to cause cardiomyopathy. The electrocardiogram showed arrhythmias, including primary atrioventricular block. She also underwent an echocardiography which showed mild concentric left ventricular hypertrophy.

Both findings were consistent with chronic T cruzi infection. The individual completed a 60-day course of benznidazole to treat Chagas disease.

The patient had lived in Missouri for the entirety of her life. She did not report seeing triatomine bugs at any property she had lived at, though her husband recalled seeing some insects consistent with digital images of the bugs without being able to recall when or where.

“In Missouri, Triatoma sanguisuga vectors have been identified during 2012–2016 and as recently as July 2019,” the authors wrote.

T cruzi transmission involving triatomine and wild animal reservoirs has been documented in the southern United States for approximately 150 years. There are roughly 300,000 people likely living with Chagas disease in the United States, but only 28 locally-acquired infections have been confirmed and documented between 1955 and 2015.

“The likely autochthonous case described in this report underscores importance of health care provider awareness of possible Chagas disease even in the states considered low risk for this infection and need for the careful consideration of the patient’s history to identify possible risks for T cruzi infection,” authors concluded.

Uber, Lyft cars treated for bedbugs in Dallas

“Drivers either see bedbugs, someone complained, or they were suspicious of a customer and just want to make sure”

“I probably do five to 10 rideshare cars per week,” Don Brooks, owner of Doffdon Pest Control, told Dallas news station WAA. “Drivers either see bedbugs, someone complained, or they were suspicious of a customer and just want to make sure.”

One method Brooks uses involves heating a tent to nearly 150 degrees. Drivers usually leave their cars in the tent for a few hours at a cost of $250, he said, though, he also offers a cheaper solution with liquid pesticides.

On a national level, the average cost estimate for bedbug extermination ranges between $320 and $400, according to a recent report from Thumbtack, an online local marketplace for professional services.

“If you feel suspicious, just throw your clothes in the dryer for 50 minutes on high heat. Then it’s best to hop in the shower,” Brooks said.

Dallas-Forth Worth is one of the most bedbug-infested cities in the nation, according to Terminex. Only New York City and Philadelphia have topped the Texas city’s high numbers.

Experts say bed bugs can be found in ride shares

Bed bugs

Just the thought of bed bugs is enough to make most peoples’ skin crawl, but actually getting them in your house could be just as costly as it is uncomfortable; and cases are on the rise.  (KCTV5 News)

Eyewitness News 3 (WFSB) – by Matt McFarland and Olyvia Lank | February 25, 2020

The reports of bed bugs are on the rise in Connecticut.

Those whose job it is to get rid of the blood sucking bugs say they’re not just in homes anymore.

Experts described bed bugs as excellent hitchhikers. They can be easily transported into homes, hotels, and there’s another location most don’t think about.

“In general, bed bugs are not discriminatory. They’ll go whether you’re high end, low end, mid end,” said Mike Lipsett.

Mike Lipsett is nicknamed the Bug Man and he says his company, Connecticut Pest Elimination, gets calls daily.

“Anybody can get them, any facility can get them because they’re brought in by somebody,” Lipsett said.

While a nuisance, it’s important to note bed bugs don’t carry diseases like ticks or mosquitoes, but they reproduce quickly and travel easily through clothes, luggage, and other personal belongings.

Now, it has some worried about popular ride share cars.

“It very well could happen. We had a client years ago that used to take the train a lot. They happened to look in his briefcase and it was caked with it. Here’s a guy that got on a train, now that’s rare, here’s a guy that never even thought to look,” Lipsett said.

In fact, a California law firm is representing people who say they got bed bugs in ride shares. Down in Texas, one Dallas-based exterminator says he’s been treating cars.

What about in Connecticut? Experts say they haven’t seen any reports of bed bugs and ride shares.

Doctor Gale Ridge heads up Connecticut’s Coalition Against Bed Bugs and she says there’s a reason why bed bug infestation in a car would be extremely rare.

“If a bed bug was accidentally dropped in the car in the middle of winter, it’s likely to freeze to death overnight. Conversely, if it’s in a parking lot during the summer day, it’s going to die from the heat. They stress out very easily,” Dr. Ridge said.

While pest professionals use heat and chemicals to solve the problems, Dr. Ridge says one of the best pesticides people can use is simply vacuum cracks and crevices where bed bugs live.

Experts also say people shouldn’t panic.

Connecticut’s Agricultural Experiment Station has a website with plenty of detailed information, which you can find here.

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