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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 103, Issue 6, pp e399–e403 | Cite as

Bed Bugs and Public Health: New Approaches for an Old Scourge

  • Mona ShumEmail author
  • Elizabeth Comack
  • Taz Stuart
  • Reg Ayre
  • Stéphane Perron
  • Shelley A. Beaudet
  • Tom Kosatsky
Public Health Practice
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

Objective: To share four Canadian cities’ experiences with bed bug infestations and to explore public health roles in managing them.

Methods: We summarize presentations from a workshop at the 2010 Canadian Public Health Association Conference which examined the re-emergence of bed bugs in Canada and compared management approaches of municipal and public health authorities in four large Canadian cities. We include updates on their activities since the workshop.

Results: Cities across Canada have observed an increase in complaints of bed bug infestations over recent years. Toronto Public Health considers bed bugs to be a threat to health and has been heavily involved in the front-line response to bed bug complaints. In Winnipeg, Montreal and Vancouver, city inspectors are responsible for investigating complaints, and public health plays a supporting or secondary role. We identified factors that may contribute to successful management of bed bugs: sufficient funding, partnerships among many stakeholders, training and education, and surveillance and evaluation.

Conclusion: Various public health agencies in Canadian cities have played key roles in the fight against bed bugs through new initiatives, education, and encouragement and support for others. By working with the public, owners, tenants, the health sector and other stakeholders, public health practitioners can begin to curb the resurgence of bed bugs and the social strains associated with them.

Résumé

Objectifs: Relater l’expérience de quatre villes canadiennes aux prises avec des infestations de punaises de lit et analyser le rôle joué par la santé publique pour maîtriser ces infestations.

Méthode: Nous résumons les présentations d’un atelier donné à la Conférence 2010 de l’Association canadienne de santé publique, où l’on a examiné la réémergence des punaises de lit au Canada et comparé les approches de prise en charge des autorités municipales et sanitaires dans quatre grandes villes canadiennes. Nous incluons des nouvelles de leurs activités depuis l’atelier.

Résultats: De nombreuses villes du Canada observent une hausse des plaintes d’infestations de punaises de lit depuis quelques années. Le Service de santé publique de Toronto, qui considère les punaises de lit comme une menace pour la santé, est très impliqué dans les interventions de première ligne en cas de plainte d’infestation. À Winnipeg, Montréal et Vancouver, ce sont les inspecteurs de la ville qui sont chargés d’enquêter sur les plaintes, la santé publique jouant un rôle secondaire ou de soutien. Nous avons recensé les facteurs pouvant contribuer à une prise en charge efficace des punaises de lit: des fonds suffisants, des partenariats entre les nombreux acteurs du milieu, la formation et la sensibilisation, ainsi que la surveillance et l’évaluation.

Conclusion: Divers organismes de santé publique dans les villes canadiennes jouent un rôle clé dans la lutte contre les punaises de lit en menant de nouvelles initiatives, en faisant de la sensibilisation, et en offrant soutien et encouragement à d’autres. En travaillant avec le public, les propriétaires, les locataires, le secteur de la santé et les autres acteurs, les praticiens de la santé publique peuvent espérer juguler la réapparition des punaises de lit et les tensions sociales qui en résultent.

Key words

Bed bug Cimex lectularuis environmental health public health 

Mots clés

punaise lit Cimex lectularuis santé environnementale santé publique 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mona Shum
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elizabeth Comack
    • 2
  • Taz Stuart
    • 3
  • Reg Ayre
    • 4
  • Stéphane Perron
    • 5
  • Shelley A. Beaudet
    • 6
  • Tom Kosatsky
    • 7
  1. 1.National Collaborating Centre for Environmental HealthVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  3. 3.City of WinnipegWinnipegCanada
  4. 4.Healthy EnvironmentsToronto Public HealthTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Direction de santé publique de MontréalMontréalCanada
  6. 6.Vancouver Coastal HealthVancouverCanada
  7. 7.National Collaborating Centre for Environmental HealthCentre for Disease ControlVancouverCanada

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