France has urged the public not to worry about reports of bedbug outbreaks on public transportation in Paris and throughout the country.
At least 37 sightings of bedbugs on public transportation have been reported over the past few weeks by national rail operator SNCF, with a dozen additional reports made to Paris public transport operator RATP.
French Transport Minister Clément Beaune said that each report had been checked out, and that none were proved to be true.
“When there is a problem, we deal with it. We won’t deny it,” Beaune said. “There is no outbreak of bedbugs in public transportation.”
French media have reported extensively about bedbugs on trains and in cinemas, and the government worries about the impact on tourism and the Paris Olympics, which start in less than a year.
Despite the denials, France will be taking preventative measures against a potential outbreak, using sniffing dogs on trains to detect the pests.
Beaune also plans to meet with pest control companies to preemptively come up with a solution if bedbugs were to infest public transportation.
He has promised transparency and said he would publish data every three months citing all reports and confirmed bedbug infestations.
On a radio spot Tuesday, French Health Minister Aurelien Rousseau told the French public there’s “no reason for panic” about “widespread” reports of bedbugs in Paris.
According to a report Tuesday by CNN, Marie Effroy, head of the Paris-based National Institute for the Study and Control of Bedbugs, said the level of bedbug infestation in France, which tends to spike toward the end of each summer season, is worse than previous years but treatable.
Some information in this report came from Reuters.