Health Bureau warns locals travelling abroad of bed bugs

2023-11-10 03:17     BY Ginnie Liang    Comment:0

Macau people should look out for bed bugs when travelling abroad, as bed bug infestations have recently been spreading rapidly in parts of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, other parts of Europe and Korea, the Health Bureau (SSM) said in a statement yesterday.

Bed bugs are small parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of warm-blooded animals, the statement said, adding that individual responses to bites vary, ranging from no visible effect at all to small red spots, to more severe allergic reactions.

Allergic symptoms can include enlarged bite marks and painful swelling at the bite site, the statement noted.

Bed bug bites usually disappear in one to two weeks, and individuals should avoid scratching the bites and keep the affected area clean, the statement said, adding that for patients with severe allergic reaction to bites, hospitalisation may be required.

According to the Hong Kong Department of Health, bed bugs go through the egg, nymph and adult stages. The eggs hatch in about one week at 18ºC to 25ºC; the nymphal stage takes 14 to 30 days to complete. The life span of adult bed bugs may reach 9-18 months, and six to seven generations could be produced under favourable conditions per year.

Eggs of the bed bugs are about the size of a pinhead and pearly white, and the nymphs of the bed bugs are small, translucent or yellowish-white, while the average adult bed bug has an average length of 5 mm and has an oval, flat, mostly reddish-brown body, the statement said.

The statement said that bed bugs may be found in the folds of mattresses and sheets, or nearby furniture, and are usually transported from place to place through items such as luggage, clothing, bedding and furniture.

According to the statement, bed bugs are currently not known to spread disease.

The statement reminds the public to check beds, pillows, mattress and upholstered furniture for bed bugs when arriving at a hotel room and change rooms if there are signs of bed bugs.

The statement also reminds residents to avoid placing luggage on the ground and keep the luggage closed when not in use, and if in doubt about there being bed bugs, use hot water and steam on one’s clothing and items, or consider hiring a pest control company that provides professional services on bed bug control and prevention. 

This 2006 photograph depicts an oblique-dorsal view of a bed bug nymph in the process of ingesting a blood meal from the arm of a human host. – Photo courtesy of Piotr Naskrecki – CDC/Harvard University

Click refresh authentication code