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Bed Bugs Take Over Senior Housing Complex

Fox Chicago:Bed Bugs Take Over Senior Housing Complex

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

By Tisha Lewis, FOX Chicago News

East Chicago, Ind. – Bed bugs have taken over a public housing complex for senior citizens in East Chicago.

Residents of the John Nicosia Housing Complex packed a meeting on Wednesday night, complaining that the bed bug problem popped up eight months ago. Now, 98 percent of the apartments inspected by the East Chicago Health Department ware infested with bed bugs, and the health department has not yet hired an exterminator.

Residents say the bed bug problem started in one unit and quickly spread.

“It was allowed to perpetuate. About eight months ago, I spoke with a manager about the first case I heard about to my knowledge and I asked her to get it under control. Nothing happened,” said resident Sherlene Lowe.

Now the bed bug problem is out of control, with residents taking cell phone videos of bed bugs and showing off red welts on their arms.

Residents said the infestation happened because some were scared to report the issue for fear of being billed hundreds of dollars for extermination services.

I don’t know that any will be displaced yet, we have not procured an exterminator yet. As I said, we have to review each contract to see what is most healthy for residents and what’s going to be most effective,” said Diana Garcia-Burns, director of the East Chicago Health Department.

Garcia-Burns said she’d meet again with the housing authority on Thursday. The extermination companies need at least week to mobilize their team before they can begin service.

Residents were told they should not have to pay for the extermination service.

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