Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do Bedbugs (or a bedbug infestation) Affect The Cognitive Thought Process?

"Dr. Xxxxxx,

If there were bedbugs in your home and it was necessary to call in an exterminator, do you think it would be advisable, while awaiting the exterminator, to allow your children back into the house to get some of their things they felt it necessary to have for whatever reason? What I am getting at is - wouldn't there be a fairly good chance that if you allowed your children to do so they would wind up bringing out something that was harboring some of the bedbugs and therefore wind up spreading the bedbugs outside of your home.

I ask this because of this sentence found in the email below:

"Until North Hall is re-opened, faculty and staff can certainly go to their offices if they need to access materials."

Unless I am very mistaken, and the information I have been given about them is also mistaken, bedbugs are spread either while on humans or in possessions. Having someone go into an infested area would seem an excellent way of spreading this tiny scourge further. At least one study found linked to the CDC website suggest such method of transmission:

"Our data suggest that bed bugs can spread from shelter to shelter, presumably transported in the personal belongings of residents. " (see:

With good intentions only,
Glenn Bartley

When I look in the mirror, I am happy to see, some of that nine year old boy, who used to be me. ©"

I sent the above email to a college (as in institute of higher learning and intelligence and professors and smart people) in reply to the email I received from them on the subject of a bedbug infestation at my alma mater (see below - it appears there in its entirety except for some minor redactions to protect the ignorant - who, by the way, are supposed to be highly educated men). I read the whole letter with some interest; I mean it is not every day that you read about bedbugs closing down a college. I almost fell out of my chair laughing in amazement when I got to the part about professors being allowed back into the building to retrieve things seemingly while the infestation was still not under control. The use of the words "...can CERTAINLY go to their offices..." (I added the emphasis on the word certainly) shows, at least to me, an almost certain, if not very high, amount of arrogance and blunder prone thought patterns on the part of the school administration. The bedbugs, in my understanding, can certainly be spread in that way.

Having somewhat of an affection for my alma mater, after having spent as many as 10 years studying therein, I decided to write an email in reply to that sent to me by the school. I hope they take it with the best of intentions as I meant it. I also sincerely hope they eradicate the little buggers not only in the school but in the homes and automobiles of the teaching staff, the students, the maintenance staff and so on. It is, in all probability, a very safe bet indeed to imagine that these little blood sucking pests are not restricted to the school alone; unless wiped out in other locations frequented by people who also frequent the school the infestation may just pop up again in the not too distant future. That would be a shame just the same as is the shame of the resurgence of bedbugs here in the United States of America - a place where they had been virtually unheard of for decades. Yes folks, just open up those borders, just allow anyone into this country of ours without regard for our own health and safety. How does it go, those noble words that only a Frenchman could have written and then sent to the good old US of A so that someone, anyone, other than a Frenchman would have to live by them:

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

Along with them came their bedbugs, their other vermin, diseases and all other such calamities. It seems they just keep coming too. If you look at that inscription closely - nowhere does it say we cannot make sure they are healthy before we let them step foot on our mainland's shores. Thus the reason for places like Ellis Island. Maybe it was run poorly when it was the entry point for millions of legal immigrants but we could use a place like it today and yes we could run it better. It would go a long way to assure that while we allow the tired and poor huddled masses to come to America we could avoid also allowing in their own personal wretched refuse like bedbugs, tuberculosis and H1n1.

The original email to me from the school appears below although the names of those involved have been redacted as have certain email addresses.
I would be at fault if I did not also show the reply I received from a professor of high ranking among the school's administrative officers. I will give it in its entirety as to its text, and I am quoting the complete text of the reply I received (my emphasis added):

"Good point!"

So while I suppose the original email on the topic had great intentions albeit combined with what maybe a poor plan for eradicating the vermin at least one person at the school now sees the potential folly of allowing professors into their offices to retrieve items they need. Hopefully he will pass on my email to those above him for their consideration. I am confident such will be done because the professor in question is a really intelligent man (one of the better profs I had while in attendance there). So, in answer to my own question, 'Do Bedbugs (or a bedbug infestation) Affect The Cognitive Thought Process?" I have to say - nope not really - logic seems to be prevailing.

All the best,
Glenn B
----- Original Message -----

Dr. Xxxxxx
Sent: Thursday, September 24, 2009 7:43 AM

Subject: North Hall Closed Until Tuesday: Bed Bugs


Issued By: CUNY - John Jay College
Affected Jurisdictions:
Headline: JJC/North Hall closed today, September 24, 2009 for classes & administrative services due to evidence of bed bugs. See email/website for details

To: The John Jay College Community
From: President Xxxxxxx Xxxxxx
Re: North Hall Closure and Bed Bug Update
Date: September 24, 2009

We have decided to close North Hall today because of the confirmed presence of bedbugs on at least the first, second and third floors of the building. I am writing to explain this decision and the factors leading up to the decision.

Yesterday, we sent a memo to the College Community reporting that a professional inspection by our pest control contractor of certain offices on the first floor of North Hall had confirmed the presence of bedbugs. We undertook this inspection because a number of staff had reported skin rashes and ultimately bedbugs were suspected as the cause of those rashes. Based on the initial results of the inspection of the first floor where those employees worked, we decided to close North Hall over the weekend so that the building could be treated to eliminate these insects. Throughout the day yesterday, the inspection of North Hall continued. At midnight last night, we were informed that the presence of bedbugs had been confirmed in a number of offices on the second and third floors of North Hall. Based on this information, I have decided, after consultation with the University, to close North Hall effective immediately. Classes and other activities will go on as scheduled in all other campus locations. We will move up the treatment schedule from Saturday as a result of these new findings. We will make every effort to reopen North Hall on Tuesday, September 29, when classes would normally resume following the Yom Kippur observances.

While this decision will result in significant disruption of the activities of the College, I believe this action is necessary to protect the health of our students, faculty and professional staff. We will make every effort to maintain critical College services over the next few days while access to North Hall is restricted. Until North Hall is re-opened, faculty and staff can certainly go to their offices if they need to access materials. We will reconstitute critical services at other locations throughout the College, as best we can and will announce those locations as soon as decisions have been made. Classes that were scheduled will be rescheduled for later in the semester, in accordance with College policy. In short, we will make every effort to provide the critical services and academic programs of the College, but will place the health concerns of our community first.

I thank everyone for their understanding during this difficult time.

Xxxxxx Xxxxxx

Please watch out for updates and additional information-- on the website, your email, or through CUNY Alert. We have scheduled an information session for today, Thursday, at 2:00 in the College Theater. If you have questions, I encourage you to come to this information session.

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