TORONTO - The administration at the city junior/senior high school is taking precautions today after bedbugs were discovered in a classroom Tuesday.
One of the bugs was subsequently taken to Rose Pest Control to be identified after several small bugs were discovered in a classroom. School officials believe they've also discovered the source of the pests, according to Maureen Taggart, school principal and district communications coordinator. and Fred Burns, superintendent.
"Rose Pest Control is coming in today," Burns said.
Taggart sent an e-mail to parents notifying them of the discovery as well as precautions taken to minimize the risk of the bugs spreading. In the e-mail, Taggart told parents a student had been taken to the school nurse, items were removed from that student's locker and the room was closed to pupils and students to be disinfected.
"The Jefferson County Health Department was notified," reads the e-mail. "They indicated that we had taken all the recommended precautionary measures. They said that students are no more at risk of picking up these bugs while attending school than they are going to a movie theater, restaurant, grocery store or other public facility."
"This was probably brought in by the student's coat," said Burns, adding several small bite marks were discovered on the student's skin. "(Rose Pest Control) will come in today with dogs specifically trained to detect bedbugs. We can't spray the room yet because the dog wouldn't then be able to detect any bedbugs.
"That family (of the student) is staying home until they are checked out," continued Burns, adding the family will be checked by physicians.
"(The bugs) like to be in the dark," said Burns, adding bedbugs today have a stigma similar to lice. "It could happen to anybody."
Wikipedia defines bedbugs as "parasitic insects of the cimicid family that feed exclusively on blood." Bed bugs are mainly active at night, but are not exclusively nocturnal. They usually feed on their hosts without being noticed.
A number of adverse health effects may result from bed bug bites, including skin rashes, psychological effects and allergic symptoms. Diagnosis involves both finding bed bugs and the occurrence of compatible symptoms."
The bugs aren't considered dangerous but can be a nuisance.
Burns said there was no reason for any students to stay home, and parents would be notified of the situation through nightly calls.