Expert warns ‘superwave’ of bed bugs is heading for UK | World | News

The UK could be under threat from a ‘superwave’ of bed bugs this summer. Experts have warned that the Paris Olympics could be to blame, with some many travelling to and from France for the event.

In just a few weeks, thousands of people will descend on the city of Paris for this year’s Olympic Games. 

However, this could bring with it a new set of health problems for the UK and increase the risk of a bed bug crisis the likes of which struck Paris last autumn.

Dr Chris Papadopoulos, Principal Lecturer in Public Health at the University of Bedfordshire, has told that this mass movement of people could also bring the nasty critters.

Dr Papadopoulos explained: “The Paris Olympics could indeed trigger a superwave of bed bugs. With thousands of visitors from all over the globe, bed bugs could easily hitch a ride in luggage, clothing, and personal items.

“This mass movement of people creates the perfect storm for the bugs to spread through hotels, public transport, and other communal areas. They are also highly resilient and capable of long-distance travel in human belongings.

“When these visitors return home, there is a real risk of them carrying bed bugs with them which could potentially spark infestations in other countries.”

Furthermore, Dr Papadopoulos also warned that the Eurostar could play a significant role as a conduit for these bed bugs. He said: “The Eurostar, with its high passenger volumes and close quarters, could become a conduit for bed bugs given they can easily hide in luggage, seats and personal items.”

Dr Papadopoulos warned that there “will need to be regular inspections and thorough cleaning of train compartments to prevent this”.

He added: “Bed bugs have also been known to exhibit a ‘clustering’ behaviour, where they aggregate in specific locations. This means that an unnoticed infestation in one part of a train or hotel can quickly spread to other areas, amplifying the problem significantly.

“Therefore, travellers should also be vigilant during their journey to minimise their risk including avoiding fabric seats and opting for plastic or metal seats if possible, and keeping their bags off the floor.”

The impact of bed bugs on someone can be substantial too says Dr Papadopoulos, ranging from itching to anxiety and stress. He explained: “The infestation can make your home feel like a hostile environment, causing anxiety and stress.

“If you’ve been bitten by bed bugs, wash the affected areas with soap and water, and apply a cold compress to alleviate itching. Over-the-counter antihistamines or corticosteroid creams may also offer relief. However, if you experience severe allergic reactions, consult a doctor immediately.”

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