Study: EMS Providers Need Training On Bed Bugs

ambulances in a line
EMS providers scored low on their knowledge of bed bug biology and effective public health measures to combat bed bugs. [cleanfotos / Shutterstock]
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EMS providers undergo training to save lives, but a recent study shows there’s room for improvement in how they deal with a critter they encounter on the job: bed bugs.

The study surveyed EMS providers in Northeast Ohio, and 21 percent reported seeing bed bugs at least monthly. Among this group, only 30 percent said they took the affected stretcher out of service after an encounter.

EMS providers as a whole scored low on their knowledge of bed bug biology and public health.

Study co-author Dr. Jeffrey Luk of University Hospitals said in a city like Cleveland, which has a sizable bed bug problem, it’s important that EMS providers are educated on bed bugs.

“Having an awareness of them is number one,” Luk said. “If you’re not aware of the problem, you can’t address it.”

Ways to address it to stop the spread include disinfecting the stretcher and rig after treating a patient with bed bugs and isolating the patient once they arrive in the emergency department.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Cureus. 

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