May 30, 2024

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South Korea’s Battle Against the Bed Bug Onslaught

South Korea’s Battle Against the Bed Bug Onslaught



South Korea’s Battle Against the Bed Bug Onslaught

South Korea Grapples with Bed Bug Crisis. Public Panic Restricts Subway Travel and Movie-Going.

The bed bug panic, previously rampant in France and the UK, has now spread to South Korea, causing widespread distress among the population. Reports of bed bug infestations are surfacing in various regions across the country, including Seoul and Busan.

The government of South Korea has allocated a substantial amount of 500 million won to establish a task force aimed at combating the spread of these pests.

Despite the prior disappearance of local bed bug populations due to the widespread use of pesticides, their resurgence is attributed to potential transmission through travelers’ luggage and belongings.

 

South Korea's Battle Against the Bed Bug Onslaught

 

 

The government’s concern is driven by the potential for bed bugs to swiftly evolve into a significant societal issue if left unchecked. Measures are being taken by several local governments, including Seoul, Incheon, and Busan, to prevent further escalation. The high population density in Seoul poses a significant risk, potentially leading to a widespread bed bug problem. The Seoul Metropolitan Government is responding urgently to this crisis.

Seoul city officials reported an increasing number of complaints related to bed bugs, particularly in 7 out of 25 districts by November 5th. They have allocated 500 million won towards city-wide efforts to curb the infestation, focusing on managing high-risk areas like partitioned rooms and shared housing. They’ve initiated pest control operations in locations such as subways and cinemas. Additionally, the city government has established a bed bug reporting center and a public service hotline to assist citizens in preventing and controlling bed bugs.

In response to the discovery of bed bugs in a public bathhouse, the Incheon Metropolitan Government plans to conduct comprehensive sanitary inspections at 48 public saunas and over 700 hotels and lodgings monthly, imposing administrative penalties and fines on those failing to comply.

Furthermore, the Busan Metropolitan Government is sharing the latest updates on bed bug reports through its website and providing prevention measures at public health centers.

The public is gripped by fear, avoiding subway seating and refraining from visiting cinemas for fear of being bitten or inadvertently carrying bed bugs home. The panic has led to people standing on the subway instead of sitting on fabric-covered seats. Citizens are altering their routines and habits, washing clothes immediately upon returning home to mitigate the risk of bed bugs.

The proliferation ability of bed bugs, capable of simultaneously feeding in numbers ranging from 30 to 50, intensifies the fear among the population. These bed bugs, also known as ‘bed lice,’ are less than 1 centimeter in length and sustain themselves by sucking blood. Their ability to breed rapidly in various household areas, including mattresses, sofas, wallpapers, electrical outlets, and even ceilings, is causing significant distress.

The persistence of these bed bugs for months without food, coupled with their nocturnal habits, poses a challenge in eradicating them completely. While they do not transmit diseases, their bites can cause skin irritation, leading to symptoms like blisters or hives and, in severe cases, even fever.

Professor Yang Young-chul, from the Environmental Health and Safety Department at Yonsei University, warns that the bite of a bed bug can lead to severe itching and mental distress, with a single individual possibly being bitten by as many as 30 to 50 bed bugs simultaneously.

The resistance of bed bugs to pesticides and their potential introduction into South Korea through travelers’ luggage adds complexity to the crisis. South Korea witnessed an 813% increase in pesticide sales and a 610% surge in sales of bed vacuums. However, existing pesticides are proving less effective, with the country’s Disease Control and Prevention Agency exploring alternative solutions.

The crisis is believed to have started in France, where approximately 11% of households have faced bed bug infestations, resulting in significant financial costs for eradication. The resurgence of bed bugs in France and their subsequent spread to South Korea has been linked to increased international travel and the movement of people after the pandemic. Bed bugs tend to hide in clothing and luggage, likely being introduced into South Korea through incoming travelers, leading to a significant potential for domestic spread.

This resurgence of bed bugs, originally stemming from France, has profoundly affected various establishments and households, prompting proactive measures to prevent their spread and mitigate their impact on businesses and public health.

The bed bug crisis presents a formidable challenge due to their resilience, and their reemergence in South Korea is prompting a comprehensive response from the government and the public.”

South Korea’s Battle Against the Bed Bug Onslaught

(source:internet, reference only)


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