Pikeville Medical Center working to eradicate bed bugs

Published: Jun. 14, 2016 at 10:27 AM EDT
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Pikeville Medical Center is trying to get rid of some uninvited guests.

Hospital officials say bed bugs were discovered Saturday.

Parts of the hospital are closed until the bugs can be eliminated.

Hospital officials believe the bed bugs got in by hitching a ride on the belongings of hospital visitors.

Affected areas include the critical care unit waiting area, located on the third floor of May Tower.

Hospital spokeswoman Laura Damron says the hospital enacted its procedures for dealing with this type of problem

"First of all the waiting areas have been closed until the problem can be eradicated," she said. "Secondly, professional exterminators have been hired and are working with our staff on site to eradicate the problem."

Bed bugs are tiny parasites that feed on human blood.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the pests are not known to spread disease, and should not be considered a public health hazard.

The insects can be found in the cleanest of environments, even hospitals.

"While we regret that it's happened, this is an issue that unfortunately all hospitals have to deal with," Damron said, "and we're just asking that visitors do not bring in pillows, blankets or any type of bed coverage at this time."

Damron says the hospital has an obligation to its patients and visitors to make sure the problem is resolved.

There is no word on when that waiting area might reopen.