They may be hard to spot, but as two hospitals recently learned, bedbugs are quite adept at making their presence felt.
The tiny reddish-brown bugs, roughly the size of an apple seed, were responsible late last month for interrupting patient operations at a U.S. hospital and another across the pond in Ireland, according to news reports. The first incident occurred when workers at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital in Portland discovered the little pests climbing out of a fanny pack that had been stored along with other patient belongings for safekeeping.
At the advice of a pest-control expert, hospital officials walled off the area where the bugs were spotted, threw out the mattress used by the fanny-pack owner, and shut down and cleaned the room. Workers also have removed and are in the process of treating any potentially infested furniture and equipment, hospital spokeswoman Liana Haywood said.
The situation was a bit more severe at Listowel Community Hospital in Kerry County, Ireland, where officials were forced to close part of the facility for roughly two weeks, according to news reports.
Hospital officials learned of the infestation after an investigation by an incident-control team that was following up on reports from staff and patients of strange bug bites.