Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH) is a busy place. Besides supporting health care for 80,000 people living in the Kootenay Boundary service area, the hospital is undergoing a two-year $19-million renovation to the emergency wing. (Sheri Regnier photo)

KBRH on watch for bed bugs after two recent cases

Spokesperson Mandy Lowery says there has not been a bed bug sighting at KBRH since Dec. 8

Exterminators are keeping close watch for signs of bed bugs at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital after two cases of the parasitic insects were discovered last week.

Story here: KBRH deals with isolated bed bug cases

“Orkin and West Kootenay Pest Control have both been involved,” confirmed Mandy Lowery, acute health services director. “And will continue to visit the site weekly to assess and treat the area if needed for the next seven weeks, (which is) the life cycle of bed bugs.”

She says there has not been a bed bug sighting at KBRH since Saturday, Dec. 8.

“This was in the same isolated area of the hospital and we have had no bugs beyond the isolated areas originally identified,” Lowery explained.

“Traps have and will also be used as a precautionary measure. We will limit use of this area while this ongoing monitoring takes place.”

How the bugs got into the hospital is unknown, though Lowery suspects it was by attaching themselves to clothing and/or personal effects.

“We do not believe visitors to the hospital need to be concerned,” she clarified. “Because we have not found any bed bugs in broader patient and public areas.”

As far as hospital employee concerns, Lowery says infection control and administration have been in regular contact with staff that work in the impacted area.

“Because this was the first instance of bed bugs at our hospital, we will be reviewing how our response worked – what went well and any challenges that came up,” she said. “We’ve already had a few discussions about this, which has included looking at how other hospitals and other health authorities have dealt with bed bugs. We have had no grievances.”

When the bugs were first detected in two separate zones of the hospital, Lowery says housekeeping and infection control teams were brought in to ensure those areas were appropriately cleaned, and review if there was a risk that bed bugs could have moved elsewhere in the hospital.

“Our laundry procedures would destroy any bed bugs on linens, and housekeeping and a pest control agency we enlisted have done a terminal clean of the identified areas using steam,” she explained. “High heat is an effective way of destroying bed bugs.”

A special aerosol was used to clean one mattress that has internal electronics, as steam cleaning would have damaged the specialized equipment. This method of cleaning took place away from any patient care area.

Bed bugs, classified as blood-sucking parasites on warm-blooded hosts, are a small reddish-brown oval shaped insect with a flattened body.

The insects are not associated with the transmission of human disease, but their bite can cause welts or localized swelling in some. The main concern is risk of secondary infection from scratching the lesions.

“In general, people should be aware that bed bugs can be out in the community,” Lowery concluded. “And should refer to the HealthLink BC file if they find them in their home.”

Click here: HealthLink BC bed bugs



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Adult bed bug (Wikipedia image)

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