2023 Paris bedbug infestation

The 2023 Paris bedbug outbreak was a local infestation of bedbugs that took place in the French capital in the latter half of 2023. Reports of bedbug sightings began in rental and hotel accommodations in the summer of 2023, and escalated to public spaces, including movie theaters and transport systems, over the following months. The outbreak caused national upset and drew significant media attention, with both local and international actors calling on the French government for a more serious response to the situation. This outbreak occurred less than a year before the start of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, raising concerns about the city's ability to safely host tourists and locals traveling for the occasion.

The common bed bug is found worldwide. Infestations are common in the developing world, occurring in settings of unsanitary living conditions and severe crowding.

History edit

Previous bedbug infestations in France edit

Bedbug infestations have been reported as early as the times of the Ancient Greeks,[1] but were largely eradicated in the mid-20th century thanks to the development of strong pesticides, such as DDT. A resurgence of bedbug infestations occurred in the late 1990s and has continued to evolve since then.[1] The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants signed in 2004 is cited as one of the causes for this change, as the banning of powerful pesticides led to a proliferation of this parasite. Globalization and more frequent international travel is also frequently cited as a cause.[2]

According to a report published by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) in July 2023, more than 1 in 10 French households was infested with bedbugs between 2017 and 2022.[3] A different estimate placed France's peak infestation at 32% households in 2019, and the figures lowered in 2020 with the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic and global travel restrictions.[4]

Initial sightings and "Mass Hysteria" edit

Following the publication of the ANSES report in July 2023,[5] French media outlets began reporting more frequently on the presence of bedbugs in households and public spaces.[6] Videos of bedbugs in Paris public transport, trains and cinemas began circulating on social media in the beginning of October 2023.[7] According to entomologist Jean-Michel Berenger, the presence of bedbugs in public spaces has been trending upwards, but a new element of "general psychosis"[8] took hold in 2023. According to Berenger, bedbugs have been making a comeback for years and have been trending up on a global scale.

Consequences and implications edit

Government response and measures edit

Bedbug home infestations typically occur in mattresses and couches. Bedbugs are nocturnal pests that hide in the daylight and leave their hiding spots at night to find a host.

On September 28, 2023, deputy mayor of Paris Emmanuel Grégoire asked the government to declare bedbugs a national health crisis.[9] During a crisis meeting held on October 4, 2023, French Transport Minister Clément Beaune addressed reports of bedbug infestations in Parisian public transport and trains and claimed that of the more than 40 reported cases, "zero [were] proven".[10] Following measures were mainly efforts to reassure Parisians and tourists that the issue was less severe than reported in news outlets through the creation of informational websites and reassurances that the issue was being dealt with seriously.[11]

Cost and class divide edit

According to the 2023 ANSES report, the eradication of bedbugs cost French households 230 million euros between 2017 and 2022.[12] In 2023, the average cost to exterminate bedbugs in Paris was estimated to be around 1200 euros per household.[13] Although bedbugs are not more likely to begin spreading in low-income communities, the cost of eradication is cited as a reason why disadvantaged communities often face longer-lasting infestations.[14] Some French newspapers cited the psychological cost of bedbugs infestations as weighing more heavily on low-income communities, as they have helped perpetuate stereotypes of uncleanliness and division between classes.[15]

Paris 2024 Olympics edit

With an expected influx of 15 million people arriving and traveling through Paris during the summer of 2024 for the Olympics,[16] many media outlets have raised concern about the city's ability to safely deal with such increased tourism rates.

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Bed Bugs | Center for Invasive Species Research". cisr.ucr.edu. Retrieved 2024-02-20.
  2. ^ Ledsom, Alex. "Paris' Exploding Bed Bug Issue—What's The Solution For Travelers?". Forbes. Retrieved 2024-02-20.
  3. ^ "Les punaises de lit en 13 questions". Anses - Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail (in French). 2023-10-05. Retrieved 2024-02-20.
  4. ^ "Punaises de lit : y en a-t-il plus qu'avant ?". Le Point (in French). 2023-09-27. Retrieved 2024-02-20.
  5. ^ MALIGORNE, Propos recueillis par Clémentine (2023-09-13). "Les punaises de lit se répandent partout en France depuis deux ans, voici la raison - Edition du soir Ouest-France - 13/09/2023". Ouest-France.fr (in French). Retrieved 2024-01-30.
  6. ^ "Punaises de lit : la guerre est déclarée". France Inter (in French). 2023-09-13. Retrieved 2024-02-20.
  7. ^ Borel, Brooke. "Bed Bugs and Influencers Spark Pest Panic in Paris. Here's What You Need to Know". Scientific American. Retrieved 2024-04-12.
  8. ^ "Bedbug panic sweeps Paris as infestations soar before 2024 Olympics". 2023-10-03. Retrieved 2024-02-20.
  9. ^ "Punaises de lit : la mairie de Paris réclame un plan à l'État". TF1 INFO (in French). 2023-09-28. Retrieved 2024-02-20.
  10. ^ "Paris bedbugs: It's not a big deal, says French transport chief". POLITICO. 2023-10-04. Retrieved 2024-02-20.
  11. ^ à 22h14, Par Le Parisien avec AFP Le 28 septembre 2023; À 11h35, Modifié Le 29 Septembre 2023 (2023-09-28). "« Une urgence » : la mairie de Paris réclame à l'État un plan contre les punaises de lit". leparisien.fr (in French). Retrieved 2024-01-30.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ à 22h14, Par Le Parisien avec AFP Le 28 septembre 2023; À 11h35, Modifié Le 29 Septembre 2023 (2023-09-28). "« Une urgence » : la mairie de Paris réclame à l'État un plan contre les punaises de lit". leparisien.fr (in French). Retrieved 2024-02-20.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ "Paris : Punaises de lit, une infestation invisible, chiffres alarmants et émergence d'une névrose contemporaine - Paris la douce, magazine parisien, culture, sorties, art de vivre". Retrieved 2024-01-30.
  14. ^ "Bed Bugs Aren't Just a Problem In Paris. Here's Why". TIME. 2023-10-11. Retrieved 2024-02-20.
  15. ^ "Punaises de lit : une lutte épineuse et coûteuse". Les Echos (in French). 2023-07-19. Retrieved 2024-02-20.
  16. ^ "Punaises de lit: à un an des Jeux olympiques de Paris, la presse étrangère s'inquiète". BFMTV (in French). Retrieved 2024-01-30.