Christopher Eddy, MPH, REHS, RS and Susan C. Jones, PhD
Part 1, A Call To Action
The resurgence of bed bugs poses an urgent situation since infestations are rampant globally, nationally, and locally. In Ohio, bed bugs have become a virtual epidemic in many towns and cities, especially in central and southwestern regions of the state. These blood-feeding insects cause an array of adverse health effects in humans. Furthermore, bed bugs disproportionately occur in urban areas, and housing and the built environment are now recognized as dominant influences on health. Bed bugs’ potential role in disease transmission remains unqualified to date, and research on this issue is urgently needed. The escalating global bed bug resurgence leaves the divided public health community in a precarious social justice position if the lack of response to bed bug infestations disproportionately impacts underserved populations. Bed bugs are an urgent public health and environmental justice concern, and the authors recommend that public health agencies respond with authority of agency.
Part 2, An Opinion Survey
Bed bug infestations have resurged globally, nationally, and locally, yet the public health community in the U.S. has yet to mount a coordinated response to the escalating bed bug problem. Surveys of attendees at the 2009 National Environmental Health Association Annual Educational Conference & Exhibition, 2009 Ohio Association of Health Commissioners Fall Conference, 2009 Central Ohio Bed Bug Summit, and 2010 Hamilton County Council on Aging Annual Conference were conducted to gauge opinions about bed bugs. Survey results revealed that 90% of all respondents considered bed bugs to be a public health concern, and 73% indicated that bed bugs pose an environmental justice concern. These findings, which indicate that bed bugs are an inescapable public health mandate with environmental justice undertones, should rally public health agencies at federal, state, and local levels to respond with authority of agency to the escalating bed bug problem.
NEHA’s Bookstore: Bed Bugs Resources
Bed Bug Handbook: The Complete Guide to Bed Bugs and Their Control
L.J. Pinto, R. Cooper, and S.K. Kraft (2007)
The Bed Bug Handbook is a complete and up-to-date guide to bed bugs and their control. It includes sections on the history and impacts of bed bugs, their biology and habits, how bed bugs spread, and medical and social considerations of bed bugs infestations. The largest portions of the book consists of practical step-by step guidance for preventing bed bug infestations and for dealing with bed bug outbreaks. There is an extensive section on bed bug inspections. The Bed Bug Handbook includes checklists for preventing and controlling bed bugs in specific kinds of facilities, such as apartments, hotels, medical facilities, and furniture rental warehouses. 266 pages, paperback.
Special Audio Presentation from Radio NEHA: Bed Bugs Originally broadcast via Radio NEHA, circa 2008
NEHA e-Learning: Bed Bugs Courses Available ONLINE!