Mount Mercy treats apartments after bed bugs found in one unit

13 students displaced for short period

CEDAR RAPIDS - Mount Mercy University temporarily moved 13 students out of a Lower Campus Apartments building after bed bugs were found in one of the apartments, officials said.

It's expected those students will be able to return to their apartments Wednesday night after the entire building and the laundry room were treated on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, said Jennifer Jentz, coordinator of marketing and media content for Mount Mercy.

"It was handled very quickly," she said. "We did everything in our power to make the transition easy for our students."

Officials aren't sure of the source of the bugs, and Jentz said bed bugs haven't been a past problem there.

A student in the infested apartment reported the issue to residence life on Monday, Jentz said. A professional company was brought in for an inspection and confirmed the bed bugs in that one apartment, she said. The entire building - four apartments in total - was treated as a precaution, even though no signs of bed bugs were found in the other units, she said.

During the treatment and for 24 hours afterward, the students from that building were moved to other housing. There will be a follow-up inspection of the building in two weeks, Jentz said.

Lower Campus Apartments - made up of four buildings of four apartments each - are fully furnished by the university, though students have the option to bring in their own furnishings, she said.

Anybody can be at risk for bed bugs, and the insects can travel because they are hitchhikers on clothes or belongings, said Ruby Perin, supervisor of the Healthy Homes branch for Linn County Public Health.

In multifamily units, like apartment buildings, the bugs can get into the walls and spread out via wiring and electrical outlets, which is why it's important to treat neighboring units when bed bugs are found in one unit, Perin said.

Public Health does not track reports of bed bugs because the bugs are not known to be carriers of disease, she said.



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