Paris Grapples with Bedbug Infestation as Bloodsucking Insect Spotted in Trains, Cinemas – News18

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Bedbugs have become a major concern in Paris ahead of the 2024 Olympics, with reports of infestations in various places. (Image: Shutterstock)

The French government sprang into action as reports of bedbug infestation in public transport systems, cinemas and homes were reported.

Reports of widespread bedbug infestation in French capital Paris has forced the government to spring into action. Videos posted on social media site X showed bedbugs crawling in local transport in Paris, while some users said they were bitten by bedbugs in their homes and in cinemas, while some tourists also reported being bitten by bedbugs in their hotels.

The French transport minister Clement Beaune said a meeting will be held this week to “undertake further action” to “reassure and protect” the public amid reported surge in the numbers of bedbugs which are known to suck blood.

Paris metro operator RATP told news agency CNN that every report of bedbug sighting is being taken into account and is being treated. “These last few days, there have been no proven cases of bedbugs recorded in our equipment,” RATP said, adding that they remain “vigilant” about bedbugs.

RATP said last week that “no presence of bedbugs was recorded on the train” after conducting an assessment. Railway company SNCF which operates the Eurostar trains also said that reports of pests are taken seriously and added that “to date we have not observed any presence or proven reports of bedbugs”.

Paris deputy mayor Emmanuel Gregoire said it was a “widespread” phenomenon. “You have to understand that in reality no one is safe, obviously there are risk factors but in reality, you can catch bed bugs anywhere and bring them home,” Gregoire was quoted as saying by news agency CNN.

France witnessed a surge in bedbug infestation three years ago as well due to which authorities launched an anti-bedbug campaign. A hotline, a website and an information portal were opened.

“There are 3.6 million people who come into Paris every day, and bedbugs do not stop on the outskirts of the city,” Gregoire said, explaining the shortcomings of the plan.

French health experts told the news outlet that this was an “emerging phenomenon in France and almost everywhere in the world”. “It’s mainly due to the movement of people, populations travelling, the fact that people stay in short-term accommodation and bring back bedbugs in their suitcases or luggage,” Joanna Fite, the expert from France’s national health and sanitary body, Anses, told CNN.

She also pointed out that the reports of widespread infestation are common because these insects have become resistant to insecticides.

The reports will likely cause concerns for those who are attending the 2024 Paris Olympics as well as for the organisers. “There is no threat to the Olympic Games. Bedbugs existed before and they will exist afterward,” Gregoire said.

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