Paris battles bed bug infestation ahead of the 2024 Olympics

Paris Eiffel Tower
Paris Eiffel Tower

A bed bug infestation has taken over the city of Paris.

Videos of the insects — that feed on the blood of humans and animals — crawling on the train, bus, airport, and movie theatre seats are currently going viral on social media.

Paris Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Grégoire took to Twitter to reveal, “No one is safe.” He called for “coordinated measures” to bring together health authorities, communities, and other stakeholders and has asked Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne to organize a “conference on the fight against the invasive species.” French transport minister Clement Beaune added that he plans to bring transit operators together to figure out ways to “reassure and protect” travelers.

This news comes as Paris prepares to host the 2024 Olympics and Paris City Hall urged the government to deal with the current infestation before the new year. According to CNN, the officials are not worried. “There is no threat to the Olympic Games,” Gregoire said. “Bed bugs existed before and they will exist afterward,” he added, saying that the games are an “opportunity” for everybody to get together and fight the issue.

Back in July, French health agency ANSES revealed that between 2017 and 2022, bed bugs took over more than one in 10 French households and there was no link between a household’s level of income and it falling victim to an infestation. “The upsurge in bed bug infestations in recent years has been due in particular to the rise in travel and the increasing resistance of bed bugs to insecticides,” the agency stated on its website. “Income level is a factor in the persistence of infestation, as treatment can be costly, averaging €866 per household. In addition to the cost of treatment, victims of infestation are sometimes afraid of being stigmatized, which can prevent them from talking about it and taking prompt action to keep it from spreading.”

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