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Bedbugs Found in Tenn. Hospital; What's Next?

Bedbug engorged with blood after feeding on human arm. (AP Photo)
AP
The University of Tennessee Medical Center has sealed two patient rooms where bed bugs were discovered.

Hospital Chief Administrative Officer Norman Majors told The Knoxville News Sentinel the bugs were first found by a relative of a patient over the weekend. An exterminator then found bugs in a second patient room. In both cases, the infestation was in sleeper chairs, not patient beds.

The chairs were discarded and the hospital was thoroughly searched. Majors said the bed bugs were limited to the two rooms, which will not be used for more than two weeks.

The hospital has trained staff to be on the lookout for the pests.

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This week, experts on bedbugs and exterminators convened for a bedbug summit near Chicago.

The critters have been reported from college dorms in Pennsylvania and North Carolina to Marine barracks at Camp Lejeune. In New York City, where the problem is worst, they forced Victoria's Secret and Abercrombie and Fitch stores to close for fumigation, and have been found in popular movie theaters.

They took another bite in the Big Apple this weekend, when an infestation shut down Niketown's flagship store in Manhattan - the latest addition to an expanding list of major retailers and corporations that have been affected. Even the Empire State Building has been overrun by bedbugs, reports CBS "Early Show" consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen.

Louis Sorkin, an entomologist at the American Museum of Natural History, told Koeppen, "There are just many more places where bedbugs will be found. … It's actually been building up over many, many years."

Experts call it a pandemic with no end in sight.

Asked by Koeppen how many cities have bedbugs, Phillip Cooper, CEO of summit host BedBug Central, responded rhetorically, "How many cities are there?"

He says "nobody knows" why there are so many bedbugs.