Bed bugs found in student's backpack, Ithaca school district tells parents

October 22, 2014 by Mark H. Anbinder

The Ithaca City School District has informed students and their families after discovering bed bugs in a student's backpack recently. School officials declined to specify which school the student attends.

"After discussion about whether that would be helpful, it was decided not to disclose the school, since this could be in any of our schools," ICSD head nurse Judy Hoffman, RN, MSN, tells 14850 Today. "Most people do not willingly report having this problem. We felt just letting people know about it and what to look for and do would be the best approach," she said.

Parents received a letter from the school district that says, "Bed bugs are a nuisance, but their bites are not known to spread disease." The letter, signed by Hoffman and school physician Marguerite Uphoff, MD, encourages students and parents to "Watch for clusters of bites, usually in a line, on exposed areas of the body."

"The source of bed bugs often cannot be determined, as bed bugs may be found in many places including hotels, planes, and movie theaters," the letter tells parents. It's unlikely for bed bugs to infest a school, but district officials say they're conducting inspections and will, if necessary, "implement an integrated pest management plan." 

Hoffman tells us the school district is working closely with the student's family to help them eliminate the problem. The school district provided families a link to a Michigan Department of Community Health document on avoiding and eliminating bed bugs.

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