Experts have cautioned celebrities who attended Paris Fashion Week from coming back to the United States with bed bugs in tow following reports the French capital was facing an infestation of the creepy crawlies.
Dr. Jim Fredericks, the board-certified entomologist who serves as the senior public affairs VP at the National Pest Management Association, told TMZ that bed bugs are very good at clinging to people or items, meaning there's a chance the infestation in Paris could follow several A-listers home. Fredericks said that in order to avoid bringing them home, PFW attendees should do a thorough check of their luggage and bedding, even if they stayed in 5-star hotels.
He also recommended that the safest way to avoid bringing them home is by storing luggage outside of bedrooms during their visit. Attendees should also check any of their clothing items before returning home and should wash and dry the items in a high-heat setting. When they've returned to the U.S., they should also consider dry cleaning.
Curbed writer Clio Chang spoke with Top Notch Pest Control exterminator Larry Bernhardt, who also said there's a chance people could bring bed bugs home with them on a plane journey. "There’s really no way to tell unless they’re on some type of inspection program," he said. "There are large commercial places that would have a canine inspection come in on a regular basis. So I would hope that that’s what they’re doing."
Bernhardt said that the photos and videos coming out of Paris indicate a bigger infestation than is typical. "Usually they also only want to come out at night. So if they’re seeing them during the day, that’s extremely alarming that their numbers are really growing and they’re kind of feeling free to just walk around during the day," he said. "They’re not a dirty bug. You could be the cleanest person in the world and still get them. We’ve done beautiful penthouses. You could have the cleanest apartment in the world that you could eat food off the floor from, and you could still have bed bugs."
Over the past week, photos and videos have shown bed bugs all over locations in Paris, including trains, subways, and even cinemas. A small number of schools have closed in response to the infestation and one hospital was forced to undergo intensive treatment to deal with the bugs. As reported by The New York Times, French transportation minister Clément Beaune stressed that buses, trains, and other forms of public transport are being checked routinely. "We are taking this issue seriously," he said. "We mustn't succumb to psychosis or anxiety."