Regional action plan to combat bedbugs: Action marks first year

MONTREAL, June 28, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - One year after launching a regional action plan to combat bedbug infestations, Gilles Deguire, member of the Montréal executive committee responsible for housing and social housing, and Dr. Louis Drouin, responsible for urban environment and health at the Direction de santé publique (DSP) de l'Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal, underscored the importance of continuing efforts with all key players to limit the spread of these insect pests in Montréal residential buildings over the next few years. Mr. Deguire and Dr. Drouin made this statement after presenting a review of actions taken as part of this action plan adopted in March 2011.

"As announced when the action plan to combat bedbugs was launched, the city has honoured its commitment to limit the spread of bedbugs within its territory, notably by amending the by-law to require pest control managers to declare their interventions and by creating a centralized data bank," Mr. Deguire said. "Moreover, the establishment of a regional committee bringing together several partners concerned by this problem (the city, public health department, boroughs, suburban municipalities, property-owners associations, housing committees, pest control managers, Health Canada, the Québec ministry of sustainable development, environment and parks, the Montréal municipal housing bureau and the Québec housing board) has enabled these partners to work as a team, sharing best practices to maximize efforts to combat bedbug infestations," he added.

According to an Omnibus survey conducted for the Direction de santé publique, 2.8% of households on the Island of Montréal experienced bedbug problems in 2011, about the same percentage (2.7%) as in 2010. "Over the next few years, the DSP intends to continue studies already underway to follow the development of the situation throughout the Montréal territory. These studies will help us to assess the impact of bedbugs on health and identify the best ways to stop the spread of these insects," Dr. Drouin explained.

According to data from a survey conducted last April as part of the action plan, approximately 80% of Montrealers have heard about bedbugs and 65% could identify at least one of the main indicators of their presence (skin bites, itchiness). However, the ways to prevent and control bedbug infestations are not that well known by Montrealers. "Survey results show that we must continue to train the stakeholders involved and develop, together with the city and partners, other information tools for stakeholders and the public," said Dr. Drouin.

As we all know, recently, bedbugs have returned to most major cities around the world, and Montréal is no exception. The regional action plan is part of a broader concerted effort by the city and Montréal health department, since 2008, to limit the proliferation of these harmful insects. The plan will enable them to take action in the field more effectively, monitor infestation development, intensify citizen communication and mobilize key players and stakeholders.

Other actions carried out as part of this plan include:

  • Creation of an awareness campaign over the vital period leading up to and following moving day on July 1 and production of a new awareness tool for the public to be used during that period.
  • Distribution of 2,000 sealable plastic bags for citizens to dispose of mattresses through borough Accès Montréal offices (BAM).
  • Reissuing and distribution of the brochure Don't let the bedbugs bite and the guide Bedbugs: Identifying and controlling bedbugs throughout the city network as well as the health and social services network.
  • Posting the Web site: avoidbedbugs.info
  • Conducting a survey to assess the level of knowledge the public has regarding bedbugs and the means to combat them.
  • Repeating the survey to assess the percentage of households which have experienced bedbug problems in their home over the previous year.
  • Development of a multilingual notebook-questionnaire for building inspectors to help them to detect infestations in households where little or no French or English are spoken.
  • Training sessions for municipal inspectors and actors involved in the health and social services network.
  • Launching a pilot project, developed by the DSP (Montréal Health and Social Services Department) and the Montréal municipal housing office, in co-operation with four Québec health and social service centres, to provide assistance to building owners and tenants dealing with persistent bedbug infestations.

For more information on bedbugs and how to prevent and eradicate infestations, or to consult the results of the 2011-2012 action plan, please log onto:
avoidbedbugs.info

SOURCE VILLE DE MONTREAL

For further information:

Sources:

Ville de Montréal

Direction de santé publique
Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal

Media relations:

Ville de Montréal
François Goneau
514 869-5859

Direction de santé publique
Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal
Marie Pinard
514 528-2400, ext. 3471

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VILLE DE MONTREAL

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Direction de santé publique de Montréal

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