H-CENTRAL COAST

Jul 11, 2013 8:22 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Bed bugs bugging Central Coast residents and a local homeless shelter

The Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter in San Luis Obispo is closed after bed bugs were discovered there over the weekend.

The shelter closed Wednesday after some clients were bitten.

The clients were referred to the medical van where medics suspected that the bites may have been due to bed bugs, but they were not sure.

Hydrex Pest Control was called in to make an assessment of the shelter and determined that bed bugs were indeed present at the location.

"They will bite, but you don't normally feel the bite and evidence that you got bed bugs is a lot of times you'll find blood on your sheets, little spots," said Marc Sheible, Sales and Marketing Director for Hydrex.

Sheible said the bugs travel by hitchhiking. They will hitchhike in suitcases or any other belongings you have.

The bugs will even attach themselves to a shirt, but their favorite place to hide is in beds.

They are attracted to the carbon dioxide that is released while a person is sleeping.

Curtis Batson, Director of SLO County Environmental Health, said bed bugs do not carry diseases, but the reaction to a bite could vary depending on the person.

"Different people there are have different levels of allergy or reaction to it, but also it's conceivable there could be a small infection, just like any wound, could get a little infected, but again it's usually pretty minor, usually clears up on its own," said Batson.

The SLO County Environmental Health Department said it has noticed an issue with bed bugs particularly in homeless shelters, hotels, and motels, but it is not a public health issue.

In the meantime, clients are being referred to the Prado Day Center.

Officials expect the shelter to be reopened by Friday.

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