Infestation of Bed Bugs Prompts Closure of Seven Schools in France; Government Convenes Emergency Meeting on Escalating Situation


Infestation of Bed Bugs Prompts Closure of Seven Schools in France; Government Convenes Emergency Meeting on Escalating Situation

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In response to a growing bed bug infestation, seven schools in France have been temporarily shuttered, announced the country’s education minister on Friday.

Here are the key details:

  • Education Minister Gabriel Attal reported a surge in bed bug cases across French schools.
  • Out of 17 institutions where bed bugs were detected, seven are presently closed for thorough cleaning.
  • Authorities have refuted claims of bed bugs being found on Parisian public transportation services.

Attal addressed the situation on French television, stating, ‘Bed bugs were detected at various levels in … I believe 17 institutions, and currently as I speak to you, seven institutions are closed for this reason.’

As France plays host to the Rugby World Cup and gears up for the Paris 2024 Olympics, the government has convened a series of meetings this week to address the escalating bed bug crisis.

Earlier on Friday, the Education Ministry informed AFP that five schools housing a collective 1,500 students had been temporarily shut down.

Earlier in the week, officials announced the closure of two schools—one in Marseille and the other in Villefranche-sur-Saone, located just outside Lyon in southeastern France—for extensive cleaning.

Mr. Attal remarked, ‘We have almost 60,000 institutions and we’re only talking about a few dozen here, but it’s true that cases are piling up. An immediate response is needed, so that we can have institutions treated within 24 hours.

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In the past few years, it’s estimated that one in ten French households have encountered a bed bug issue (Reuters: Stephanie Lecocq, file).

In collaboration with the Ministry of Health and regional health agencies, a list of ‘approved and recognized’ companies has been compiled. This resource is intended to equip school administrators with essential contacts for swift intervention.

After the detection of bed bugs in public reading spaces, a municipal library in the northern city of Amiens is set to reopen this Saturday. Mayor Brigitte Foure informed AFP about the temporary closure, noting that a sniffer dog found no trace of the pests following treatment.

Statistics indicate that approximately ten percent of households in France have faced bed bug problems in recent years. Typically, addressing this issue involves a pest control operation costing several hundred euros, often necessitating repeat treatments.

Reports have emerged of blood-sucking insects being sighted in various public spaces, including the Paris metro, high-speed trains, and Charles De Gaulle Airport. However, these individual cases have not yet been officially confirmed by authorities. French television station RMC TV disclosed that a probe by Paris transport operator RATP yielded no evidence of bed bugs on its services.


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