Melrose Elementary School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is being accused of having an infestation of lice and bedbugs.
This came after Jennifer Karijomenggolo’s daughter, Keira, who is enrolled in a multiple disabilities class at the school, was sent home on Nov. 4 with a bedbug on her, reports WHP.
Her mother says she found even more bugs on Keira when she got home.
“I found three other bugs, one bug was found on her and then three other bugs were on her personal belongings,” Karijomenggolo said. A test of the bugs by the state entomology department revealed that two of the bugs on Keira were bedbugs, and the other two were lice.
Because of a medical condition Keira has, she is susceptible to insect-borne illness, so her mother has an exterminator service the family home monthly. There have never been bedbugs or lice found in the house, she says, and accuses the school of being the source of the bugs.
Nancy Adams, a former special education teacher at Melrose, corroborates Karijomenggolo’s accusation.
“They were found every single day I would save them I had a huge collection,” Adams said.
Adams says the school administration never did anything to correct the problem. “They said they were treating the room but I never saw any evidence that they were,” Adams said.
The school also told Karijomenggolo the room had been serviced, but she claims to have never received advance notification of that, as required by state law.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the nationwide increase in bedbug infestations is “due to more travel, lack of knowledge about preventing infestations, increased resistance of bed bugs to pesticides, and ineffective pest control practices.”
Because the blood-sucking insects cause itchy bites, they are considered a public health pest by the EPA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“However, unlike most public health pests, bed bugs are not known to transmit or spread disease,” the EPA explains. “They can, however, cause other public health issues, so it’s important to pay close attention to preventing and controlling bed bugs.”
Sources: WHP, EPA / Photo credit: CDC/Wikimedia Commons