French authorities have decided to close down seven schools, affecting approximately 1,500 students, due to a widespread infestation of bedbugs. The government held a series of meetings this week to address the increasing reports of bedbug infestations when France is hosting the Rugby World Cup and preparing for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
It’s estimated that one in ten French households has encountered bedbug problems in recent years, often resulting in costly extermination procedures.
Speaking in a televised statement on Friday, French Minister of Education Gabriel Attal disclosed, “Bedbugs have been detected at varying levels in… 17 institutions. As I speak to you, seven institutions are closed for this reason.”
Earlier this week, the Ministry of Education announced the closure of five schools, also affecting 1,500 students.
Cases of bedbug infestations in schools have been on the rise. Earlier this week, authorities closed two schools, one in Marseille and another in Villefranche-sur-Saône, southeast of Lyon, for thorough cleaning.
Attal affirmed, “It is true that cases are increasing,” emphasizing the need for an immediate response to ensure institutions can be sanitized within 24 hours. He noted that a list of “approved and recognized” companies has been compiled in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and regional health agencies, enabling school principals to enlist their services quickly.
Meanwhile, a municipal library in the northern city of Amiens is set to reopen on Saturday after being closed for several days following the discovery of bedbugs in public reading areas, according to Brigitte Fouré, the city’s mayor, as reported by Agence France-Presse. She added that police dogs found no traces of the blood-sucking insects following the library’s disinfection.
The French government convened a series of meetings to address the growing reports of bedbug infestations, especially as France hosts the Rugby World Cup and prepares for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Bedbugs had largely disappeared from daily life in the mid-20th century, only to reemerge in the last three decades in several advanced countries due to increased mobility and a consumption pattern favoring second-hand goods, coupled with their growing resistance to insecticides.