SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Baja California’s health department has begun fumigating entire neighborhoods as it tries to stop a tick and bedbug infestation in Tijuana.
Adrián Medina Amarillas, Baja’s health secretary, says 17 people have died as a result of rickettsia so far this year. The disease is spread by bedbugs, mites and ticks carried by cats and dogs especially stray animals.
“We’re including ticks in this campaign so we can avoid further infections,” he said.
Other cities and regions in Mexico are having similar issues including Mexico City where a bedbug infestation has gripped the city’s National Autonomous University.
And according to Medina Amarillas, several cities in the state of Sinaloa find themselves in the midst of a bedbug and tick problem as well.
“Here, a few months ago we started spraying areas in the downtown area of Tijuana where there is a big population of rodents that also carry illnesses via ticks,” he said. “We will continue operations to reduce the spread of illnesses like rickettsia that has claimed many lives in Tijuana and other parts of the state.
Medina Amarillas said the spraying will continue indefinitely.
According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the disease enters via the skin and spreads through the bloodstream infecting the skin, brain, lungs, heart, kidneys, liver and gastrointestinal tract.
Bedbugs have also become a nightmare haunting France for weeks.
The government has been forced to step in to calm an increasingly anxious nation that will host the Olympic Games in just over nine months — a prime venue for infestations of the crowd-loving insects.
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne called a meeting of ministers for Friday to tackle the bedbug crisis. The country’s transport minister, Clement Beaune, met this week with transportation companies to draw up a plan for monitoring and disinfecting — and to try to ease what some have called a national psychosis inflamed by the media.
“There is no resurgence of cases,” Beaune said, telling reporters that 37 cases reported in the bus and Metro system and a dozen others on trains proved unfounded — as did viral videos on social media of tiny creatures supposedly burrowing in the seat of a fast train.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.