SEOUL: The South Korean government on Tuesday (Nov 7) announced that it is launching a four-week-long campaign to fight bedbug infestations amid escalating public fears that the pests are spreading across the country.
The move by Seoul comes as the number of confirmed or suspected cases of bedbug appearances nationwide rose to about 30, Yonhap news agency reported on Tuesday.
The first reports surfaced in September after students at Keimyung University in Daegu, around 240km away from capital Seoul, were bitten by bedbugs in their dormitory, reported the Independent.
Only nine cases of bedbug appearances had been reported to the health authorities in the 10 years since 2014, Yonhap noted.
Under the plan, the government will carry out inspections at “vulnerable facilities” from Nov 13 to Dec 8.
They include bathhouses, dormitories and public transportation.
Facilities where bedbugs are found will be immediately disinfected, reported Yonhap, adding that the authorities plan to convene weekly meetings to review and update measures to contain bedbug infestations.
The South Korean government also said it will push to import more effective pesticides and conduct a study on the infection route of bedbugs and their resistance to pest control, according to Yonhap.
Bedbug cases were reported in 17 metropolitan city and provincial governments across South Korea as of Monday, Yonhap reported.
In Seoul, as many as 17 cases have been reported to the authorities as of Sunday. The local government’s call centre also received reports of another five cases in the same period.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency also received a total of 11 bedbug-related reports from the start of October to Nov 6, according to the news agency.
A South Korean government official said the number of cases reported to authorities is likely to increase, Yonhap reported.
“There are perceptions that bedbugs are attributable to individuals and some refrain from filing a report on concerns it may be seen as a sign of bad hygiene. The number of reports is expected to increase,” the official said.
Source: Channel News Asia