Orkin Issues Statement on Recent Bedbugs Study

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Orkin has released the following statement:

As many of you may have seen recently in the news, a study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a publication of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports that Canadian scientists detected drug-resistant staph bacteria in bed bugs from three hospital patients. The peer-reviewed study suggested bed bugs may be involved in transmitting disease.

It is critical to note that there is no evidence at this point that bed bugs have ever transmitted disease to humans, even though they have lived with humans for thousands of years. Scientists are simply hypothesizing based upon finding the pathogens in or on the bed bugs that they could transmit those diseases to humans. It has been shown that bed bugs carry more than 30 different human pathogens, yet no disease transmission has been proven, including in this study.

The two bacteria identified were methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as MRSA, and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium, or VRE. We realize this may be cause for concern because both MRSA and VRE have been shown to be resistant to several common types of antibiotics.

The very small and isolated study, conducted in an impoverished community in Vancouver, British Columbia, tested a very small sampling of bed bugs collected from a few patients who were hospitalized for unstated causes. Marc Romney, one of the study’s authors, noted "even though this is a small study, it suggests that bed bugs may be playing a role in the transmission of MRSA in inner city populations where bed bug infestations are a problem."

Since the report was released, hundreds of news articles have appeared. You may get questions from your patients or team members about this study, so we wanted you to be armed with the right information.

Orkin’s parent company, Rollins Inc., recently committed more than $200,000 to a major multi-year project with the University of Kentucky to conduct extensive bed bug research on bed bug biology, behavior and control aspects. We hope this important study will result in enhanced treatment and prevention methods. Rollins’ support is the first programmatic funding for bed bugs research of its kind by any business, government agency or institution. Scientific research such as the study Rollins has embarked upon will help us treat bed bugs even more efficiently and effectively in the future.

Bed Bug Information to Share

We encourage you to educate yourself and your staff about bed bugs, so here are a few facts you should know and share:

- Bed bugs have been proven to carry more than 30 human pathogens; however, no evidence has been uncovered (including the results found in this particular study) indicating that bed bugs can transmit disease to humans.

- Bed bug infestations have nothing to do with cleanliness and have been found in all types of hotels, theaters, taxis, offices, hospitals, cruise ships, airplanes and homes.

- Bed bugs hitchhike on suitcases, briefcases, camera bags, purses, or any other soft surface that has a crevice where they can hide.

- Adult bed bugs are about the size and shape of an apple seed and feed on blood. Immature bed bugs are smaller and more translucent, making them difficult to find.

- Bed bugs are primarily nocturnal and can leave behind telltale reddish brown spots on bedding.

- Some people react to bed bug bites with itchy red welts, while many do not react to the bites at all.

- More than 95 percent of pest professionals reported treating bed bugs last year; up from fewer than 25 percent of professionals in 2000 (according to the National Pest Management Association).

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What’s Your Bed Bug Business Plan?, a recent cross-industry webinar event hosted by Atlanta-based pest control company Orkin and featuring a panel of industry and subject matter experts discussing the business implications of bed bugs, is now available as a free online resource at www.BedBugBusinessPlan.com. In addition to insight from industry partners in the hospitality, commercial real estate and multifamily industries, Orkin worked with professionals experienced in litigation, risk management and employment law to develop a comprehensive plan to help address the operational implications of bed bugs.

"At this point, most businesses recognize the significance of a bed bug infestation and know the inspection and detection basics," said Greg Baumann, director of technical services for Orkin. "What hotel, property and facility managers face now are the issues of protecting their brand, establishing a human resources policy and reducing the risk of litigation surrounding bed bug infestations."

In partnership with the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AH&LA), the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA International) and the National Apartment Association (NAA), Orkin’s on-demand webinar features association leaders conversing about the specific business challenges posed by bed bugs and experts addressing the complex operational implications of bed bug infestations. The conversation also touches on how affected industries can work together to help stop the cycle of bed bugs.

Video presentations include Session 1: State of Bed Bugs in the Workplace; Session 2: Bed Bug Business Breakouts on litigation, risk management and HR; and Session 3: Cross-Industry Bed Bug Workshop. BedBugBusinessPlan.com also houses handouts that help guide business owners and operators to develop policies that protect their business and brand if bed bugs strike, as well as tip sheets about the nocturnal pest and how to monitor for it.

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