There is concern in Morocco about the possibility of the bedbug infiltrating the country through airports and ports, especially with the heavy passenger traffic and active trade between Morocco and France, where this insect is prevalent.
To counter the possibility of the pesticide-resistant bedbug entering and spreading in the kingdom, the Ministry of Health has announced the activation of the health alert system at border checkpoints.
This step comes after news of suspected sightings of bedbugs in the captain’s cabin of a ship coming from the port of Marseille in France to the port of Tangier in the Mediterranean (northern Morocco) earlier this month.
The bedbug is a small, brown insect that can travel through various means, including clothing and luggage, to infest homes and public places. This insect feeds on human blood, causing severe itching and sleep disturbances.
Health Alert System
Moroccan authorities continue to intensify monitoring and increase vigilance at border crossings, despite the Ministry of Health confirming the absence of any insects, including bedbugs, on the ship coming from France to Tangier.
The ministry stated in a press release that the health border control services at maritime, air, and land crossing points conduct thorough and comprehensive inspections of all means of transportation entering or leaving the border crossings.
The ministry added that this monitoring is carried out regularly, following health border control procedures and in line with international standards as recommended in international health regulations.
Several health experts emphasize the need for a rapid response by the Ministry of Health to the concerns about the possible infiltration and spread of bedbugs within the kingdom by tightening control at ports, airports, and land borders to avoid a scenario similar to France.
Dr. Taieb Hamadi, a physician and researcher in health policies and systems, emphasizes that tackling the bedbug, which has developed resistance to modern pesticides, will become more complex unless effective pesticides are developed.
Dr. Hamadi calls for the following precautions:
- Authorities should ensure the monitoring of hotels and the sanitation of public transportation and public places to contain this insect and prevent its spread.
- Efforts should be made to eliminate it within the first four weeks of its appearance to control the situation.
- Avoid purchasing used furniture, which could be a means of transmitting the insect.
- Organize awareness campaigns for citizens to educate them on how to combat the spread of this insect and report sightings.
Several dermatologists emphasize that while bedbugs are not a serious threat to health, they can potentially cause allergies and skin irritations, along with sleep problems that can lead to fatigue.
Lubna Mashbouh, a specialist in dermatology, states that being bitten by bedbugs can lead to redness of the skin and itching. In case the bite is accompanied by an allergic reaction, it can result in irritations that require the attention of a specialized physician.
Mashbouh adds that prevention of this insect and preventing its spread require:
- Ensuring the cleanliness and absence of bedbugs in hotel beds.
- The necessity of sanitizing clothing and personal items before returning from travel, especially in areas where the insect is known to be prevalent.
- Cleaning clothes and fabrics that have been infested with bedbugs by placing them in a plastic bag containing insecticides and exposing them to the sun for 48 hours before washing them in hot water (48 degrees) and then drying them.
- Cleaning the home or places where bedbugs have been detected with the assistance of companies specializing in health preservation.