Theories about the source of the bites included scabies and fleas. But a German shepherd, one of many dogs around the country trained to detect bedbugs, found them in cubicles and offices within the building, Baumblatt said. Also, dermatologists confirmed that the bites were from bedbugs.
Baumblatt interviewed 61 employees and found that 35 had suffered from bites, often on their legs. "It wasn't that severe. It was more of a nuisance than anything," Baumblatt said.
"The anxiety was that people didn't know what it was," she said. "Once people figured out they were bedbugs, they were relieved."
The office brought in a pest control company to rid the office of bedbugs and performed steam cleaning, Baumblatt said.
Potter, the entomologist, said bedbugs prefer beds and stationary furniture such as couches and recliners because they don't like disruption when they feed on people. But they may be transported to offices, day-care centers or myriad other locations in personal belongings such as backpacks, briefcases and purses.
Once an office becomes infested, managers may not want to tell workers in order to avoid a panic, he said. "In the best of all worlds, the office would inform the employees that some bedbugs have been spotted and they have a pest control company that's hopefully involved in dealing with things," he said.
However, Potter added, "nothing is easy when it comes to bedbugs."
The report was scheduled for presentation Tuesday at the CDC's annual Epidemic Intelligence Services conference in Atlanta.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has details about bedbugs.
SOURCES: Jane Baumblatt, M.D., epidemic intelligence services officer, U.S. Centers for Di
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