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We're Number One! Chicago Tops In Calls For Bed Bug Problems

CHICAGO (CBS) -- We just can't seem to get rid of those pesky and itchy bed bugs. In fact, the city of Chicago is number one when it comes to customers calling for treatment.

CBS 2's Pamela Jones takes a look at why us, and why now.

Chicagoans are fighting a bed bug battle. The itch-causing insects seem to be rearing their heads more and more each year.

Officials at the pest control company Orkin said it got more bed bug business in Chicago last year than any city on its list.

"New York used to have a terrible problem. They've reacted to that problem, and they've gotten it under control, whereas Chicago is seeing an uptick in bedbugs, because we are sort of behind the curve," said Ruth Kerzee, associate director of the Safer Pest Control Project.

The group works with the city, and gives Chicago hotels and other facilities a bed bug plan of attack.

The parasitic insects bite, and feed on blood, and can hang around without feeding for several months.

Doctors have said the allergic reaction to bed bug bites can get so bad it forces some patients to come to the emergency room.

Dr. Ethan Sterk, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Loyola University Medical Center, said what looks like a simple rash can get serious.

"If that redness were to spread, or if pus were to come out, or if the person were to have a fever, that would be an indication of a bacterial infection on top of that, and you'd want to see your doctor about that," he said.

Kerzee said the city is working on an ordinance that would help make residents and businesses more aware of the bed bug problem.

If you want more information about the Safer Pest Control Project, click here.


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