Bed bug watch

Tourism and health officials are monitoring the bed bug infestation said to be affecting parts of Europe, as the winter tourist season draws nearer.

Barbados attracts thousands of visitors from mainland Europe and the United Kingdom and although there have been no reports of a similar issue here, officials are not taking anything for granted.

Chairman of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) Renee Coppin said hoteliers were mindful of the international reports and videos of bed bugs that were said to be in some schools, trains and hospitals.

“We are aware of what is happening internationally, in Europe and other source markets of ours with regard to this challenge. Right now we are not aware that there is a problem here. However, it’s for us to keep our eye on it and make sure we have a plan in place if it does become a challenge,” she said.

Coppin said although their discussions were still external, if necessary, they would consult with health officials and other stakeholders about the matter.

“Our internal discussions have not reached that point as yet, but once we have determined internally what steps will be taken, we will be speaking to all the stakeholders,” she added.

When contacted, Chief Medical Officer, The Most Honourable Dr Kenneth George, told the DAILY NATION: “There are no reports of bed bug infestation at the moment. We will continue to monitor.”

While the French have attempted to calm growing public fears over a supposed bed bug invasion by saying there was no evidence of a resurgence of the biting irritants on public transport, there have been conflicting reports.