Bedbugs Biting Again in U.S. (and How to Bite Back)

Maryann Mott
for National Geographic News
October 19, 2006

It's supposed to be the happiest place on Earth. But for Eunice Juarez, her trip to California's Disneyland last August was a nightmare.

She says she and her two teenage sons, Miguel and Alan, were bitten by hundreds of bedbugs at the Fairfield Inn across from the theme park's main gate.

A lawsuit seeking unspecified damages was filed last week.

Juarez's lawyer, Alan Schnurman, says that on the fourth morning of the family's stay, Juarez awoke with a bloody nightgown. Juarez, he says, suffered 650 bites, while her sons had 500 bites between them.

(Related: "'No Sting Too Painful' for Bug Attack Scientist" [March 30, 2004].)

The family sought medical treatment at two hospitals: one in the United States and one in Mexico, where they reside.

"Bedbugs are not a joke by any means," said Schnurman. He adds that he's been flooded with calls from other bedbug bite victims around the country.

Marriott International, Inc., owns the Fairfield Inn chain. The corporation did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Not Uncommon

The Juarez's case isn't isolated.

The bloodsucking bugs were virtually eradicated in the United States in the 1950s. But they are now showing up practically everywhere—nursing homes, jails, apartment buildings, dormitories (video: bedbugs plaguing hotels and houses).

Experts blame the resurgence on increased international travel, immigration, changes in pest-control practices, and the bugs' growing resistance to insecticides.

Continued on Next Page >>




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