Knowledge, Experience, and Concerns Regarding Bed Bugs Among Emergency Medical Service Providers.Cureus. 2020 May 14; 12(5):e8120.C
Introduction Bed bugs are commonly encountered by emergency medical service (EMS) providers. The objective of this study was to determine the frequency with which EMS providers encountered bed bugs, assess their knowledge about bed bugs, and analyze the actions they take after finding bed bugs. Methods We anonymously surveyed 407 EMS providers from 180 EMS agencies in northeast Ohio between September 1, 2018, through March 31, 2019. Results Among the providers surveyed, 21% (n = 84) of the EMS providers reported seeing bed bugs at least monthly, and 6% (n = 24) reported seeing bed bugs at least weekly. Being younger, male, and working in an urban environment (vs. rural) were associated with EMS providers reporting more frequent bed bug encounters (p: ≤.05). The mean level of concern for encountering bed bugs among EMS providers was 3.54 (SD: 1.15; scale: 1 = no concern, 5 = very concerned). Among the EMS providers who reported seeing bed bugs at least monthly, 30% took the affected EMS stretcher out of service when they encounter a bed bug, 43% took the EMS rig out of service, 83% cleaned the EMS stretcher with a disinfectant, and 88% notified the ED that their patient has bed bugs. EMS providers scored poorly (mean: 69% correct responses) in a seven-question assessment of basic bed bug biology and public health. Conclusion Based on our findings, we concluded that EMS knowledge and behavior related to bed bugs are suboptimal.