Source: Ghana| Myjoyonline.com| Oswald K. Azumah| email@example.com| Twitter: @OKAzumah
Coupled with the general challenges facing senior high students across the country, bed bug influx of dormitories is another headache that students in the Sagnerigu District in the Northern Region are battling.
According to a student of Kalpohini SHS who spoke to Joy News, some of them have to sleep on the floor in the dormitory because of lack of space and that is already an inconvenience.
But to add to that, “there are some insects call bedbugs and they worry us a lot which disturbs our sleep at night and makes us very uncomfortable” she said.
District Chief Executive for Sagnerigu, Mariam Iddrisu told Joy News that her office is aware of the menace and has instructed the District Coordinating Director to work with the regional authorities to fumigate Kalpohini SHS and three other schools affected.
“We are taking an immediate action to spray all four secondary schools that fall within the district because Kalpohini was reported but it’s not the only one affected by the bed bugs”, Mad. Iddrisu said.
According to the authorities, the other schools affected by the bedbug invasion are; Tamale SHS, Northern School of Business and Business SHS all in the Sagnerigu District of the Northern Region.
Meanwhile, Vice President Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia says the government has taken note of the initial challenges bedeviling the Free SHS policy and will continue liaising with stakeholders to find a lasting solution.
He was speaking at the Speech and Prize-giving day of Mfantsipim School in the Central Region.
By: JASON BEAUBIEN
After the Zika virus turned up in Brazil two years ago, hundreds of babies were born with severe brain damage and underdeveloped skulls — a birth defect known as microcephaly.
The reports of microcephaly terrified pregnant women and prompted Brazil to declare a national health emergency.
But researchers in the central Brazilian state of Sao Paulo now say that Zika may be more likely to produce a miscarriage than a baby with a smaller than normal head.
Dr. Benedito Fonseca, a professor of internal medicine at the School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto in Sao Paulo, says that back in 2015, people worried in part because Zika was a mysterious disease that had never been detected before in Brazil. “In that time every pregnant woman wanted to know what was going to happen with their pregnancy,” he says.
Little was known about the virus and the effects it could have on a developing fetus — or even what the relationship was between Zika and microcephaly.
Women who came down with Zika also appeared to be having miscarriages at a higher rate than normal but even that wasn’t clear.
So last year Dr. Fonseca set out to track the pregnancies of nearly 1,200 women in his home city of Ribeirão Preto in the state of Sao Paulo.
Over the course of their pregnancies, 178 of the women tested positive for Zika exposure. Nine of the Zika-positive women lost their babies due to miscarriages while only four gave birth to babies with microcephaly.
Fonseca says the severity of the viral infections caused the miscarriages: “The infections were so bad there was no way for the pregnancy to go on. Their own body just terminated the pregnancy due to the Zika infection.”
Rubella is another examples of a viral infection during pregnancy that crosses the placenta, infects the fetus and can lead to higher than normal rates of miscarriage.
Because Fonseca had 1,125 pregnant women enrolled in the study, he could see that the rate of miscarriage — nine out of 178 Zika-positive mothers — was far higher than among the women who never tested positive for the virus. There were only two spontaneous abortions among the 947 Zika-negative women. So roughly five percent of the Zika-positive mothers had miscarriages versus fewer than 0.2 percent of the other women. Most of these women entered the study after their first trimester, when most spontaneous abortions occur, which could be part of why the overall miscarriage rate was so low.
The microcephaly findings also surprised the researchers. Among the Zika-positive mothers, there were four babies born with microcephaly. Among the much larger group of women who showed no signs of Zika there were two cases of microcephaly.
“I thought we’d find a lot of microcephaly but I wasn’t expecting such a high rate of miscarriages,” Dr. Fonseca said just before presenting his findings this week at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s annual convention in Baltimore.
“It’s true that babies with microcephaly will have a big impact in terms of long-term care. But we have to also really deal with the short-term care of these women who are having miscarriages,” he says. Some may miscarry at home. He warns that these mothers are at increased risk for infections and that Zika could potentially lead to a rise in maternal mortality.
Albert Ko, a researcher from Yale who’s been studying the Zika outbreak in Northeast Brazil since it first emerged, says there may have been a rash of Zika-related miscarriages in the spring and early summer of 2015 that went unnoticed.
When Zika first hit in early 2015, the symptoms of the disease were fairly mild. It wasn’t until nine months later when babies started being born with abnormally small heads that health officials and the public became concerned. If during that first wave of the outbreak, Zika was causing a spike in miscarriages, that spike would have occurred before the public alarm about the disease had been raised.
“That adverse outcome [miscarriage] of Zika infection, we probably missed it,” Ko says. “We probably missed it because we don’t have very good surveillance systems especially for women in the public sector health-care system in Brazil.” Some women may have miscarried at home and not gone to a doctor. A miscarriage can also look like an induced abortion, which is illegal in Brazil, so that too could have led to an under-reporting of the phenomenon.
“It’s a very sensitive issue in Brazil,” Ko says.
So in early 2015, health officials simply weren’t looking for miscarriages linked to Zika.
As quickly as the Zika outbreak emerged, it now is subsiding.
In May of this year the Brazilian government declared the Zika health emergency to be over.
Fonseca says in Ribeirão Preto, a city of 650,000 people, Zika disappeared as abruptly as it arrived.
“Last year in our city we had over 7,000 cases of Zika,” he says. “This year we didn’t have any. None.”
But he warns that this does not mean that the threat of Zika has evaporated.
Fonseca says it appears that in places where Zika was rampant in 2015 and 2016, people developed immunity to the disease and infections plummeted. But Zika wasn’t rampant everywhere across Brazil.
“Let’s just take Sao Paulo State,” he says. “If you plot the data there are a few cities where Zika hit hard but there are a lot of places where there was almost no Zika whatsoever. So in those places, they’re still at risk of having Zika.”
He says public health officials are going to have to be on guard for Zika outbreaks for years to come.
By Brenda Craig
Baltimore, MDAmerica has a bed bug problem according to attorney Daniel Whitney from Whitney LLP in Baltimore, Maryland. The veteran attorney and his team of lawyers have successfully resolved hundreds of bedbug lawsuits achieving six figure results s on behalf of people who have been ravaged and mauled by the tiny bloodsucking insects.
“I think more attorneys are getting involved in filing cases,” says Whitney. “They have been inspired by some of the results we have achieved in Maryland and there’s a group of lawyers throughout the country that are actually viewing these cases as viable.
“In the past a typical lawyer would say where are the damages,” says Whitney. “They didn’t see a lot of medical records or property damage so they did not appreciate the value of the non-economic damages component to these cases.
“But when you get these cases in front of a jury, they react and they understand the misery that people go through.
“We have gotten a $200,000 settlement, $100,000 settlements, $50,000 settlements and more so we are talking real money.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) describes the cimex lectularius, or the common bedbug as a “public health pest”. These tiny apple seed sized reddish brown bugs do not spread disease but they feed on the blood of human hosts leaving them with itchy bite marks. Victims of a bedbug infestation often find the experience psychologically disturbing, embarrassing and extremely disruptive.
The proliferation of bedbugs is blamed on increased air travel, the bedbug’s resistance to chemicals, ineffective pest control management and a lack of knowledge. They’ve been found in hotels, apartments, schools, libraries, planes, nursing homes, hospitals, buses — almost anywhere and everywhere.
“This problem is much more prevalent than it was 15 years ago,” says Whitney. “It is accelerating and picking up speed. The increasing problem was blamed on bedbug resistance to chemicals and more international travel. That is nonsense. What is happening is people stay in hotels and live in apartments were bedbugs are not being treated. They then go out and spread bedbugs to other places.”
The lawsuits usually turn on whether or not the apartment building, hotel or any other place with a bedbug infestation did its duty with respect to eradicating the pests. Even though landlords and hoteliers often deny the problem Whitney says it is reasonably easy to prove the case.
“If someone spends the night in a hotel and two hours later they wake up and they are itching and they have 20, 30, 40 or 100 bedbug bites – well, that is not a case where the person brought the bedbugs with them. These are resident bedbugs and we can prove that even if it is flatly denied there was a problem.
“With the apartment cases most of the time a family will move into a residence that has pre-existing problems. Within a few nights of moving they are being bitten. Often, we can track down a prior tenant who will say, ‘Yes, I moved out because of the bedbugs’,” says Whitney.
It all comes down to the standard of care – it the facility is not diligent about watching for bedbug infestation the court may consider them to be negligent and see merit in plaintiff’s lawsuit.
“Many hotels do follow a standard of care and have educated management and staff.
“You have housekeepers who are trained to watch for signs of bedbugs with each cleaning. You can watch for bedbug excrement and bedbugs in the linen. If you have a room with a history of infestation then the maintenance should be doing regular treatment.
“If they find bedbugs, they have to quarantine the room and promptly call an outside qualified pest control company to treat the room,” he adds. “This is what pest control companies recommend and this is the protocol at dozens of major hotel chains.
“America is not dealing with its bedbug problem,” says Whitney. “There are major hotels that do not have a written bedbug protocol or adhere to the standard of care.”
In the past, bedbug bite victims would often be offered “points” to stay at another hotel in the chain or a few hundred dollars in compensation. But these days, many people are demanding a lot more than that for going through what many people describe as a horrific experience – and they’re biting back in the courts.
If you have an infestation, it is best to find it early, before the infestation becomes established or spreads. Treating a minor infestation, while an inconvenience, is far less costly and easier than treating the same infestation after it becomes more widespread.
However, low-level infestations are also much more challenging to find and correctly identify. Other insects, such as carpet beetles, can be easily mistaken for bed bugs. If you misidentify a bed bug infestation, it gives the bugs more time to spread to other areas of the house or hitchhike a ride to someone else’s house to start a new infestation. Learn about identifying bed bugs.
Bites on the skin are a poor indicator of a bed bug infestation. Bed bug bites can look like bites from other insects (such as mosquitoes or chiggers), rashes (such as eczema or fungal infections), or even hives. Some people do not react to bed bug bites at all.
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A more accurate way to identify a possible infestation is to look for physical signs of bed bugs. When cleaning, changing bedding, or staying away from home, look for:
- Rusty or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses caused by bed bugs being crushed.
- Dark spots (about this size: •), which are bed bug excrement and may bleed on the fabric like a marker would.
- Eggs and eggshells, which are tiny (about 1mm) and pale yellow skins that nymphs shed as they grow larger.
- Live bed bugs.
When not feeding, bed bugs hide in a variety of places. Around the bed, they can be found near the piping, seams and tags of the mattress and box spring, and in cracks on the bed frame and headboard.
If the room is heavily infested, you may find bed bugs:
- In the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, in the folds of curtains.
- In drawer joints.
- In electrical receptacles and appliances.
- Under loose wall paper and wall hangings.
- At the junction where the wall and the ceiling meet.
- Even in the head of a screw.
Understanding the behavior of bed bugs (how they eat, live, and reproduce) will help you to find an infestation before it becomes established and to monitor for the presence of bed bugs after your home has been treated.
- Appear to prefer to feed on humans, but will feed on other mammals and birds as well.
- Will readily travel 5-20 feet from established hiding places (called harborage) to feed on a host.
- Even though they are primarily active at night, if hungry they will seek hosts in full daylight.
- Feeding can take 3-12 minutes.
- The rusty or tarry spots found on bed sheets or in bug hiding places are because 20% of the time adults and large nymphs will void remains of earlier blood meals while still feeding.
- Bed bugs need at least one blood meal before the individual bug can develop to the next of the six life stages.
- They can feed more than once.
- Each stage also requires the molting of skin.
- To continue to mate and produce eggs, both males and females must feed at least once every 14 days.
- Each female may lay 1 to 3 eggs per day and 200-500 eggs per her lifetime (6-12 months but could be longer).
- Egg-to-egg life cycle may take four to five weeks under favorable conditions.
- Bed bugs can survive and remain active at temperatures as low as 7°C (46°F), but they die when their body temperatures reaches 45°C (113°F).
- To kill bed bugs with heat, the room must be even hotter to ensure sustained heat reaches the bugs no matter where they are hiding.
- Common bed bugs are found almost anywhere their host can live.
- Tropical bed bugs (Cimex hemipterus) require a higher average temperature than the common bed bug and are found in tropical and subtropical areas.
The Ultimate Hitchhiker and Your Pet
The simple answer is yes. Cats and dogs can get bed bugs on them. However, they will not become infested with them. Bed bugs don’t live on pets, although they might hitch a ride, and on rare occasion have a nibble.
Global diversification increases distribution of many types of microorganisms and pests. Bed bugs have officially gained the title Ultimate Hitchhiker. Animals can carry bed bugs as easy as any other pest, it just happens less often.
Bed bugs are a member of the genus Cimex. Every insect in this genus is a bloodsucker of one form or another. For example, one variety, called “bat bugs,” feeds on bats. The type that infests most homes these days are of the genus Cimex lectularius, and they love human blood.
Do They Prefer Humans or Pets?
Many people feel confusion because bed bugs are known to dislike hair and fur and that they prefer a human host. It is true that they prefer humans and dislike fur. It is also true that they will take what they can get when they can get it. The scientific fact is that bed bugs can feed on any warm-blooded animal, so they are not going to let themselves starve just because they dislike fur.
In almost all cases, except a rare few, you are going to get bitten before your cat does. Bed bugs are the hungry wolf, and you are the grandma. They will not eat Little Red Riding Hood (your cat) until after they eat grandma (you).
Reasons a Bed Bug Bites A Furry Pet
Since bed bugs don’t like pet fur or blood there is usually an underlying reason that bed bugs target them. The main reason a cat or dog may be bitten by a bed bug is that failed extermination measures upset the bed bugs’ natural feeding patterns.
When you exterminate, these insects look for areas that have not been treated. If you are unsuccessful in your extermination attempts, the bugs will climb into dressers and on top of curtains to find a safe place to hide until their next meal. They may even target a pet’s bed while looking for a meal.
- Reasons bed bugs bite pets
- The bug has extreme hunger.
- Inability to reach human-occupied areas.
- Pet transferred the bug from an infested chair or couch.
- Pet sleeps in an infested area.
- Pet sleeps in bed with its owner.
- An Older animal who experiences difficulty moving may struggle to defend itself.
How to Stop Bed Bugs From Biting Pets
Vacuum pet’s bed
Pay close attention to seams of pet bets. If a pet bed can be machine washed and dried for an hour, this is preferable.
Wash and dry bedding regularly
If your pet’s bed is too large to be washed or the laundering instructions do not include washing, use a steam machine instead.
Steam bedding regularly
Dry bedding for at least 30 minutes
The best chance to kill them is to place the pet bed in the dryer for an hour.
Vacuum area regularly
Steam clean pet bed
If you cannot wash or dry your pet bed, use a steam cleaner to kill bugs.
Vacuum under pet bed and all areas around it
Not only do you have to get bugs off the bed, you need to clean all areas near and around pet beds.
Vacuuming does not kill them. If you do not empty the vacuum, they will escape. Seal the vacuum bag in a large ziplock bag and throw away. If there is no bag, empty contents into a large zip lock bag and dispose.
Seal trim, cracks, and crevices near pet bed
Use caulk to seal any crack or crevice in the walls near the pet bed. Try to avoid putting a pet bed around outlets.
Use Revolution on cats and dogs
Revolution is the best heartworm & flea treatment on the market. Studies show it may also help deter bed bugs from biting your pet.
Misconceptions to Dispel
Pets Can’t Spread Them Around the House
False. Pets can carry bed bugs around on them. Bed bugs do not physically attach themselves to cats and dogs like ticks do, but they can take a ride and are willing to travel for their meal. If they are hungry and cannot find a human, they will find a pet, such as your beloved cat. If your cat gets up and moves, the insects will not leap off your pet because they cannot jump or fly.
They Only Eat at Night
This is false! Bed bugs do prefer to feast at night, however, if there are no nighttime meals available, then they will attack during the day. If you were hungry and could not find food, would you just go to sleep and say, “Oh well!” just because you prefer to feed during the day? Would you give up a meal just because your favorite dish isn’t on the menu? No! You would find food whatever it takes. So, even though they will attack mostly at night, if hungry during the day, they will bite your cat or dog. They will also search for heat and CO2, and your pets have both!
Your Pet Can Detect Them Right Away
False. The bugs will sit there and munch on your pet, but your pet probably won’t know because the bites are painless. The bite begins to itch much later and your cat or dog will begin scratching like crazy. This leads to irritation, hair loss, and infection.
Can They Make Cats, Dogs or Small Rodents
Yes, they can indirectly make your cats sick. Bed bugs do not transmit pathogens to cats or humans, but cats are prone to developing a severe itch from a bite. Trying to keep a cat from scratching is futile, and because it is likely to scratch more intensely than a human, the cat can easily suffer from a skin infection that may make it very sick.
Do not bother trying to give your cat a bath. Aside from getting scratched head to toe and being subjected to your cat’s evil eye gaze, it is only going to make matters worse. If your cat is attacked and begins to scratch excessively, call a vet.
Consulting a Vet
The two main things you want from your cat’s vet is:
- Something to stop the itching
- Antibiotics to ward off infections
One great product that you can use on your pet is Dermal-Sooth Anti-Itch Spray. I personally asked my vet about the best over-the-counter itch treatment for pets, something that would specifically work for bed bug bites. She recommended Dermal-Sooth because it numbs the skin while hydrating it. Many competitors’ anti-itch spray only contain numbing agents, which dry the skin and can actually cause more itching! The hydrating action in Dermal-Sooth helps create a more long-lasting itch relief. You can pick up the treatment for $10-$18 depending on the size of bottle you buy.
Additional Ways to Protect Pets
Deterrent Kitty Litter
Silica kitty litter can help keep your pet bedbug-free.This type of litter contains less silica than diatomaceous earth (a popular bed bug killer), but it contains enough to deter bed bugs.
The best silica cat litter is Clear Choice Silica Crystal. This brand usually costs between $12 and $15 a bottle. The reason this is the best is because it only needs to be changed once a month for one cat, and twice a month for two. It absorbs odor well and kicks up only enough crystal to deter bed bugs without irritating your cat. Other brands kick up almost no crystals. Normally that is good, but not for our purposes.
When you are searching for a bed bug spray, make sure it is safe to use around your cat.
Protective Pet Bed Covers
Bed bugs are not likely to attack your cat unless they are taking extreme measures. You can also take extreme measures to protect your cat. A clever lady named Clara Miller designed a special pet bed that is like a mattress cover.
The Dog Bed Brotector Cover with zipper may not have the trendiest name, but the inside of the cover is treated with an all-natural pesticide. It permeates through the material to deter bed bugs, but keeps a pet safe. While this is designed for dogs, I have seen it work quite well for cats as well.
Once you have your pet protected, it is time to address the itching.
Forums around the web are filled with, “My vet said this…” and “My vet said that…” Not only is this secondhand knowledge that could be incorrect, but it also seems like everyone’s vet is saying something different. To investigate this further, I called ten local vets and asked them each the same series of questions about bed bugs. Some of them swore bed bugs do not attack cats. Others said they do attack cats, but that there is nothing to worry about. Some said the cat would need medication.
Bed bugs are a relatively new problem and because they have been dormant for so long, they are not usually included in the curriculum at vet school. Each vet is left to do their own research, and they all seem to have sources that say different things.
If your cat is not scratching, then do not worry about it. However, if it is scratching, then you want to see a vet. You do not have to tell your vet about bed bugs as long as your pet gets the care it needs. If the scratching is addressed, and you get antibiotics to prevent infection, then these treatments alone will suffice. But, it is probably best to tell the vet the truth because many vets seem happy to give a million other excuses for the itching, such as an allergic reaction to food or fleas.
From my own experience, flea and tick medications do not solve the problem. However, using the liquid flea and tick medication Revolution will help a little bit. Some people say to use diatomaceous earth on cats. It is an old-school flea remedy that works on bed bugs, too. Personally, I do not recommend using diatomaceous earth on your pet. Many people report that diatomaceous earth can cause further skin irritation and dryness. While it is a safe product, if you or your cat breathe it in, it can cause respiratory problems.
Urbanization may be the cause of unwanted evolutionary consequences
A new case of sexually-transmitted Zika in Miami-Dade County was confirmed by the Florida Department of Health on Friday.
The individual’s partner was infected with Zika while traveling to several countries, including Cuba.
“There’s no evidence of ongoing, active transmission of Zika anywhere in Florida,” the health department said in a news release.
This is the state’s second Zika case this year that’s been acquired locally. The first case was reported in Manatee County in October and was transmitted by an infected mosquito.
There have been 205 confirmed cases of Zika infection in Florida so far this year, 172 of which are travel-related. Also included in the total is 112 pregnant women.
Although local and travel-related Zika infections have noticeably declined since last year, the virus is still a major public health concern, because it can affect the nervous system of unborn babies.
Couples who are planning to have babies and may be exposed to the virus in parts of the world with active Zika transmission should take precautions to prevent infection, health officials say.
There have been 19 travel-related cases in Central Florida, with 15 in Orange County and the rest in Seminole.
You can follow the latest numbers on the Department of Health’s new Zika website, https://zikafreefl.org/.
By Liz Kotalik | Fox News
An official with the airport says yes, bed bugs are here, but no, it’s not necessarily a shocking thing.
They cited statistics that say 200,000 people travel through Sky Harbor every day, and officials told us with that kind of volume, sometimes bed bugs can happen. They say they are dealing with it as we speak.
Bed bugs can live wherever there are people to bite, and they can even live for several months without biting someone. Which means they can linger for some time until they eventually find another food source, meaning another human being.
So sorry! I guess this is a downside to being in public areas, but the chances of you taking home a bed bug and then getting an infestation are low.
If you’re still nervous, just know bugs need in these situations typically travel on luggage. So wash your clothes in hot water and dry them on high heat, and maybe set the luggage outside and let it sit in the sun.