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Lone Bug Shuts Down Emergency Room

New York Daily News via YellowBrix

July 13, 2010

NEW YORK – Kings County Hospital officials were forced to shut down and fumigate part of the emergency room Monday after finding a single bedbug, authorities said.

“There was a patient in an ambulance that came in last night, and in the ambulance there was a bedbug,” hospital spokeswoman Hope Mason said yesterday.

“As a precaution, the room the patient was in was fumigated,” she said.

“No other bedbugs were found.”

Only one exam room in the Brooklyn hospital was affected, and everything was back to normal a few hours later.

Still, the discovery gave patients a bad case of the heebie-jeebies.

“I don’t feel too good knowing there were bedbugs here,” said patient Florent Blankford, 64, who is frequently treated for diabetes at the hospital.

“I hope they get rid of them in a hurry. I don’t want to take bedbugs home.”

It’s unclear what happened to the ambulance. The FDNY said it wasn’t one of its vehicles, and hospital officials did not know which service operated it.

The hospital scare came just days after preppie clothes outlet Hollister closed its flagship store in SoHo for three days because of bedbugs.

The company also padlocked sister shop Abercrombie & Fitch at the South Street Seaport for a day.

The city Health Department announced this year that bedbug infestations were on the rise around the city.

Experts say hospitals are not particularly vulnerable to bedbugs because of high traffic.

“Bedbugs don’t like to be disturbed,” said Jeff White of Bed Bug Central, a pest-control firm. “A hospital room has people coming and going all the time. It’s not an ideal place for them.”