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Will Paris Fashion Week be a bed bug super-spreader event?

As Paris fights a major infestation of the blood-sucking bugs, we ask an expert how scared we should all be

“No one is safe.”

These were the chilling words of Paris’s deputy mayor Emmanuele Gregoire, as a plague of bed bugs descended upon his city.

In recent weeks and months, there have been numerous sightings of the bugs on Paris’s trains, buses and cinemas, among other public locations. Investigations by the transport authorities have yet to be conclusive, but the deputy mayor acknowledged that infestations have been steadily getting worse over the last few years. While the local government has made an effort to clamp down within the city, the problem – according to Gregoire – is that millions of people pour into Paris each day, and “bedbugs do not stop at the outskirts of the city”.

As well as being itchy and unpleasant, bed bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of. If you speak to someone who’s been affiliated by their presence, they say that you basically have to run all of your possessions through a thresher, burn your house to the ground and then hire a team of TikTok witches to perform an elaborate incantation on the ruins.

Already, the news of the French infestation is sending fear and paranoia across the Channel, not helped by the fact that it’s currently Paris Fashion Week. Could this be a super spreader event? Will Balenciaga regret covering their showspace with wall-to-wall carpeting and curtains? Do we need to start quarantining attendees, dowsing them with chemical showers upon entry into the UK? Would it be a wise precaution to start avoiding our model, photographer and designer friends, or forcing them to wear a leper’s bell? Maybe…🤔

According to Blago Manov, managing director at Bed Bug Hunters and a man with ten years of pest control experience, there is some reason for concern. For a start, bed bugs are clever: they deliberately hide in luggage – usually in the folds, seams pockets or along the zips – because they’re looking for a safe ride. But they only hide in clothes “very rarely”, says Manov, meaning that Loewe’s tuck-your-tits-in trousers are probably safe. And despite how much of the current panic in Paris is focused on public transport, apparently this doesn’t pose much risk: according to Manov, airport luggage departments and hotel rooms are much more likely sources of infection. If you’re travelling back from fashion week, be sure to scour your Bottega Adiamo with plenty of bleach. 

There’s more: according to Manov, around 20 per cent of people don’t react to bed bug bites at all. “Very often in those cases, the bed bugs have established an average or a high level of infestation without the knowledge of their host. The risk of cross-contamination in such cases is considerable,” he says. In other words, it’s possible for people to spread them across properties through their clothing and luggage, although this is quite rare. “The chances increase when failed professional or DIY treatments disturb the bed bugs and they start looking for ways to spread next door,” says Manov. So you should either let your bed bugs chill, relax and do their own thing, or call in a proper expert.

The good news is that bed bugs do not spread from person to person, so keeping other people’s luggage the hell away from you should do the trick. And if you are in Paris already, my witch coven and I know some great incantations that will ward away these evil creatures, available for a small fee of £10,000.

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