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London mayor Sadiq Khan is working to prevent the bedbug infestation in France from spreading to the city’s transport system. The insects have been reported in schools, trains, hospitals, and cinemas in Paris.
Khan acknowledged the concern for people that the infestation may spread to London and has been in contact with Transport for London (TfL) to ensure they don’t have that problem. He has also spoken to officials in France to see if any lessons could be learned from their experience.
Bedbugs are small, oval-shaped insects with six legs that can be dark yellow, red, or brown. They feed on blood by biting people, creating itchy wounds but not usually causing other health problems. They often live on furniture or bedding and can spread by being on clothes or luggage. Cross-Channel train operator Eurostar has not seen an “upsurge in bedbugs” onboard its trains and has created a “preventive detection campaign” that will be stepped up in the coming weeks.
In Paris, BBC correspondent Hugh Schofield described the infestation as being seen as a plague, provoking a wave of insectophobia and raising questions about health and safety during next year’s Olympic Games. However, he points out that bedbugs increase over the summer every year due to factors such as globalization, container trade, tourism, and immigration. The bedbug, also known as Cimex lectularius, is a domesticated creature that goes where humans go.