Irish rugby fans on alert as bedbugs invade French cities
Irish rugby fans, beware.
The French government is set to hold an emergency meeting over the "scourge" of bedbugs currently sweeping the streets of Paris, as rugby fans travel to the city to see Ireland take on Scotland this weekend.
The critters have been seemingly plaguing the city in recent weeks, with videos going viral online of the creatures crawling over seats on public transport, including the Paris Metro and even the London - Paris Eurostar service.
Feeding on blood, bedbugs can leave bite marks, rashes and itchiness on human skin.
Transport Minister Clement Beaune is due to meet with operators on Wednesday to discuss the issue.
The French Health Ministry recommends that travelers inspect their hotel beds and suggested that people should be careful when purchasing used furniture or mattresses.
On Tuesday, Eurostar confirmed it was ramping up “preventative treatments” across its entire train network to make sure the beasties don't travel across the channel.
Authorities in France have begun a drive to exterminate bedbugs from Paris with the Olympic Games in the French capital approaching. According to a health agency report, bedbugs had infested more than one in ten French households between 2017 and 2022 https://t.co/JfPUY1Lr1R pic.twitter.com/rTgwUBOW4B
— Reuters (@Reuters) October 2, 2023
Bedbugs in Paris a long-term issue
While fears are on the rise, especially with hoardes of Irish and international rugby fans in currently in the city, the issue is a long-running one.
"Every late summer we see a big increase in bedbugs," Jean-Michel Berenger, a Marseille entomologist and France's leading expert on bedbugs, told the BBC.
"That is because people have been moving about over July and August, and they bring them back in their luggage.
"And each year, the seasonal increase is bigger than the last one."
Recent viral videos have amped up the fears throughout the country and the story has now hit international media outlets. The issue could get out of hand for France as the run up to the 2024 Olympics starts to come into focus over the next few months.
While there is some cause for caution amongst travelers, the fact is that bedbugs are on the rise pretty much everywhere in the world, not just France.
Social media, camera phones and increased focus on ongoing sporting events in Paris have almost definitely caused what is usually a low-key story to fire to the front pages internationally.
Ireland fans will hopefully have better things on their mind when the squad take on Scotland in the Stade de France on Saturday, October 8.
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