Bed bugs discovered in Merrimack County Nursing Home in Boscawen

  • Bedbugs on a bed sheet Roger Eritja

Monitor staff
Published: 1/10/2019 5:31:04 PM

Merrimack County Nursing Home officials say they have been dealing with an outbreak of bed bugs in one of their residential units this week.

Administrator Matt Lagos said seven bed bugs were found Monday in the hallway and inside one room of a 44-bed unit on the nursing home’s third floor. Family members of the two people who lived in the space were contacted, as well as the state’s survey agency, Lagos said.

Lagos said the nursing home brought in a bug-sniffing dog from JP Pest Services in Milford on Wednesday to inspect the rest of the unit, which found no more bugs.

The linens inside the room have all been washed and dried and the furniture removed, Lagos said. On Friday, there were plans for continued fumigation of the affected room.

“We have no reason to believe the problem has spread,” Lagos said Thursday. “If we detect or see any type of bug, or carcass of the bug, we’re going to call in our contact immediately.”

But some staff members expressed worry that the problem is not as contained within the 300-bed facility as administrators think.

Nursing Shift Supervisor Deborah Billings said she had seen at least two cases where it appeared residents on the fourth floor had been bitten by bed bugs.

Licensed nursing assistants have taken pictures of the bugs, Billings said, and nurses who work the night shift – 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. – say they have seen them in the hallways.

Billings said employees are afraid of going home and giving the bed bugs to their families.

“Residents freely walk from place, to place, to place, sit on these couches and go back to their room,” she said. “It would be very easy to spread.”

Billings said she thought other floors of the four-floor facility should be inspected for bugs as well.

“These people are very vulnerable – they can’t speak for themselves,” she said. “They’re trusting us to take care of them.”

Lagos said the nursing home received a report Wednesday that a resident on the fourth floor had bite marks, but when it was investigated later, the bites were found to not to have come from bed bugs. He said they have no reason to believe the bugs had spread.

Employees at the nursing home contacted the Monitor on Thursday, worried that the problem was not over.

“How do you contain bed bugs to one room?” said one nurse who wished to remain anonymous. “I think they go where they want to go.”

Bed bugs can be difficult to eradicate, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. They multiply quickly, and can go long periods of time without feeding. Getting rid of the bugs usually takes a combination of chemical and non-chemical approaches.




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