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The Globe and Mail

Bedbug infestation found at Toronto hospital

A small outbreak of bedbugs has hit a hospital in suburban Toronto and officials say they are fighting it back vigorously.

The tiny critters first surfaced at Etobicoke General Hospital, in the northwest region of the city, late last week when a staff member complained of a bite.

Hospital managers called in Toronto Public Health, which sent sniffer dogs on Monday to find where the insects were living.

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Live bedbugs were found in a staff lounge, while dead bugs and eggs were discovered nearby in the emergency room.

The lounge has been closed off since then, and liquid insecticide was sprayed. The ER is still open.

"We've kept it closed longer than we have to, just to be safe," said Dawne Barbieri, a hospital executive. "We're safe, we're open for business."

She said only a couple of staff members have complained of bites and no patients have reported any.

Since Monday, the dogs haven't found any more of the live blood-suckers.

In her seven years at the hospital, Ms. Barbieri said this is the first confirmed case of bedbugs she's heard of.

The city has, however, been getting increasingly numerous reports of the creatures over the last two years.

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The bugs are very small - about the size of a lentil - multiply quickly and can spread easily. They hide in anything from bedding to suitcases and come out at night to feast on blood.

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