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Bedbugs bite on board the Beijing-Shanghai High Speed Railway

The parasites have been popping up with greater frequency in China's urban areas

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 September, 2013, 5:59pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 September, 2013, 10:57am

Bedbugs have made an appearance on the Beijing-Shanghai High Speed Railway, much to the ire of passengers who have discovered the tiny parasites nestled amongst the train’s seats and blankets.

The bugs were first noticed in late August by a sharp-eyed passenger who uploaded images and video of the insects on his Sina Weibo microblog.

“Beware: the beds on this train are home to blood-sucking bedbugs!” the Weibo user, nicknamed "Sanbu 112", wrote in a post. “On the evening of August 28, on the Beijing-Shanghai High Speed Railway train number D313 … I made an early morning discovery of about seven to eight bedbugs. After squishing them to death, blood came dripping out … Later that day I discovered that the bugs had bitten my body and the bites were extremely itchy.”

Other Weibo users forwarded news of the bedbug discovery, and wrote that the High Speed Railway "ought to pay more attention to pest eradication."

"They should make the train tickets cheaper after this!" one exasperated microblogger wrote. "How can they have bedbugs on board the High Speed Railway?"

The Beijing Municipal Centre for Disease Control confirmed the existence of the bugs on Monday, and deputy director Zeng Xiaopeng said that in 2013, the number of bedbug-related incidents in China was on the rise, perhaps indicating that the “threat of the bugs was a gradually expanding trend.”

The incidents that Zeng referred to included 34 cases of bedbug sightings reported to the Beijing Municipal Centre for Disease Control in August, Xinhua reported. Most of these cases occurred in school dormitories and hotels that suffered from sanitation problems and had a high concentration of people living close together.

Bedbugs, parasitic pests that suck blood usually without being detected, can cause allergic symptoms and painful skin rashes with their bites. The bugs have troubled China in the past, and during the Great Leap Forward in the 1950s, bedbugs were classified by Mao Zedong as one of the “Four Pests” plaguing the country – replacing sparrows and ranking right alongside rodents, mosquitoes and flies.

Following a massive extermination campaign, bedbugs slowly disappeared from Chinese cities in later years. Since 2000, however, the insects have been re-appearing in urban areas at an alarming rate, possibly due to the masses of migrant workers that have moved to China’s cities from the countryside.



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