• Patient brought bedbugs into Rowan Co. hospital, officials say

    By: Tina Terry


    ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. - A Rowan County hospital is responding to claims of a bedbug outbreak.

    Officials at Novant Hospital told Channel 9 the hospital was never infested, but they said some of the bugs were brought in by a patient.

    “They had an infestation where they lived, so when they came to emergency department for treatment they had some on their body,” Tad Helmstetler of the Rowan County Health Department said.

    Bedbugs are small, blood-sucking insects that often live in the crevices of beds. Health officials said there were 18 to 20 of them all over the patient's body.   

    “It's fairly unusual for bedbugs to be on someone's body. Just being there and not feeding, which would indicate there's a very large infestation if you're walking around with bedbugs on you,” Helmstetler said.

    A viewer told Channel 9 the bugs had spread from the emergency area where the patient was admitted to an area upstairs, but on Tuesday hospital workers said both areas the patient stayed were treated and sealed for 48 hours and the bugs did not spread.   

    “Both those rooms are back online and in use,” Rick Parker, a spokesman for Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, said.

    And officials want to assure the public that every area of the hospital is bug-free.

    “I can assure the public we have no bedbugs in our hospital,” Parker said.

    That spokesman said the family with the infestation really needed help, so the hospital has agreed to buy them a new bed and furniture.  

    The hospital is also paying for an exterminator to treat their home.

    READ: 10 facts about bed bugs from CDC

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