It is well known that some bloodsucking arthropod pests, such as mosquitoes and ticks, spread disease-causing microorganisms directly into the human bloodstream via their bites. While bed bugs rely primarily on human blood as their food source, they have not been found to spread disease. However, some experts consider bed bugs to be a public health threat, as the stress that results from bed bug infestations can trigger lasting mental health conditions, most notably anxiety-related conditions, such as post traumatic stress disorder and persistent feelings of paranoia. A few weeks ago, the Erie County Health Department began investigating a bed bug infestation within a number of vehicles used for a high school drivers education program.
For more than a year, bed bugs have been infesting several vehicles used for the drivers education program at Clarence High School. As a result of this widespread infestation, many drivers education students have inadvertently spread bed bugs into their homes and throughout the school-building. Unsurprisingly, many students who are not associated with the drivers education program at the high school may have also acquired the bugs. About one month ago, officials with the high school finally sent a letter to parents notifying them of the cancelation of the drivers ed program as a result of the infestation. However, many parents have criticized the school board for not disclosing enough information concerning the infestation. For example, video footage has surfaced showing numerous bed bugs on students’ clothing as they exited the infested vehicles. Footage showing bed bugs crawling on the the seats of infested vehicles have also gone public. Many parents suspect that the bed bug infestation is far more extensive than school board officials are letting on, and they believe that the school-building itself must be infested. Due to the public uproar, the Erie County Health Department is investigating the bed bug infestation. Not long ago, officials with the department contacted O’Day’s Driving School, the company that supplies the vehicles, but they have not responded.
Are you concerned about the potential for bed bugs to spread in your child’s school?