The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


September 4, 2012

Geisinger battles bedbugs

DANVILLE – Geisinger Medical Center has been struggling with a bedbug outbreak for several weeks, a hospital spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Undisclosed areas of the medical center have been isolated and placed out of service following the discovery of bedbugs.

Marcy Marshall, of Geisinger’s public relations department, did not specify which parts of the campus have been isolated, only that they “will be back in service when it’s determined the areas are totally free of any problems.”

The bedbugs were originally discovered a few weeks ago, said Marshall, and some areas may have already been cleared of them. Other sections will be reopened when it has been determined, at a later date, that they are free of the insects.

“Anything that has been determined to have bedbugs has been closed off,” said Marshall. She did not disclose if the sections closed were patient or non-patient areas.

Hospital staff have followed standard procedures recommended by exterminators as well as Geisinger protocols.

As the hospital is a public facility, the bedbugs were “most likely an outside source,” said Marshall.

“The affected areas will be isolated for two to three days, as is the standard procedure recommended by the exterminator, and will only be placed back into service when it is determined that the areas are totally free of any problem,” according to a written statement released by the medical center. “As always, GMC is committed to providing a clean and safe atmosphere for our patients, employees and staff.”

Infestations of bed bugs are becoming more common in hospital settings. Mount Sinai Hospital in Baltimore reported a bedbug problem less than two weeks ago. A report by the American Society for Healthcare Environmental Services said infestations are “common and becoming more so in these health care settings, and when they occur, they evoke — right or wrong — the impression that infested facilities are unsanitary.”

The report pointed to data from Orkin, an exterminator company, that found that in 2009 alone, the company’s branches had been summoned to 500 bedbug cases in hospitals and 130 cases involving long-term care facilities.


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