The Bed Bugs Bite - Rash of Claims Feared


By(bug-free) Roderick Eime

A recent compensationpayout by a Londonhotel could lead to a rash (pun intended) of similar claims.

Kent (UK) sisters Melanie Carmen and Joy McDonagh, both intheir 40s, travelled to Londonand stayed at the £90/night Airways Hotel in Pimlico, South West London. Duringthe night the women were bitten dozens of times each and required hospitaltreatment for their painful swellings.

After contacting solicitors, they received over £1,600 incompensation based on pain and suffering.

While the women blamed the conditions of the hotel, bed bugsare easily transportable in clothing and baggage and every hotel runs the riskof an infestation. They can hide easily, go months without feeding, resisttreatment and travel easily from room to room or common areas. They hide duringthe day and feed at night, making them all the more insidious.

While the bug bites themselves are not known to be poisonousor disease-carrying, the bites are unsightly and very irritating – to saynothing about what they can do for the guest experience.

"It's very unfortunate what happened to these twoladies, but we have no way of being able to trace exactly where theseinfestations came from," a hotel spokesman said. "'This incidenthappened 18 months ago and experts say there are 20,000 cases of bedbugs inhotels across the UK every year, five-star hotels included, so we're not immuneto the problem. We have a full-time contract with a pest control company andwhen problems are reported they come in immediately to deal with anyissues."

The SA Department of Health advises:

Bed bugs can often be difficultto eradicate because their hiding spots are hard to find or inaccessible.

Repeat application of a treatmentproduct may be necessary, depending on the chemical used and the success of theoriginal application.

Thoroughly vacuum the infestedarea including the mattress and place the contents of the vacuum cleaner bag ina sealed plastic bag for disposal.

Clothes and bedding suspected ofbeing infested should be washed in hot water (at least 60oC) and/or heatedironing or drying.

Hotels should educate housekeeping staff in theidentification of possible bed bug infestations. Clues such as blood spots onlinen, dead insects or droppings should ring alarm bells and prompt actionshould be initiated.