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7 Oct, 2023 12:57

France closes schools to combat blood-sucker spread

Bedbugs have been detected in more than fifteen institutions, French Education Minister Gabriel Attal has said
France closes schools to combat blood-sucker spread

French authorities had to close seven schools across the country due to its infestation of bedbugs, Education Minister Gabriel Attal told channel France 5 on Friday. The official admitted that the cases being reported are piling up.

Attal reported that bedbugs have been detected at various levels in about 17 institutions and seven of these are currently shut down for this reason.

“We have almost 60,000 institutions and we’re only talking about a few dozen here, but it’s true that the cases are piling up,” the minister added. He stressed that “an immediate response is needed so that we can have institutions treated within 24 hours.”

The capital Paris is just nine months away from hosting next summer's Olympic Games and local officials are calling on the federal authorities to solve the pest problem. Last week, Paris city hall lodged a formal complaint with the government, urging it to take action against the bedbugs.

First Deputy Mayor of Paris Emmanuel Gregoire pointed out that the bedbug outbreak is “truly a national emergency.” The official added that it is very important to address the issue before the 2024 Paris Olympics, as the entire country prepares to host the games.

According to ANSES, the French health and safety agency, the country has been facing a bedbug problem for years – between 2017 and 2022, more than one in ten households were infested with the pests. The rise in bedbug infestations has been linked to the increased travel and the parasites’ growing resistance to insecticides, the agency said.

The reports of infestations came ahead of Paris Fashion Week, which ran from September 21 to October 3. On Thursday, Sky News announced that UK travelers are worried about bringing back bedbugs from their vacations in France. The outlet quoted a British microbiologist who said that London is likely to have a similar level of insect problem as Paris.