Thursday, November 4, 2010

Columnist: SF media overstates bedbug problem

Columnist Matt Smith of the SF Weekly says local media are needlessly scaring people about bed bugs without much evidence of a problem.
    "Bedbugs don't carry disease or poison, or produce any human reaction more serious than welts that resemble mosquito bites. Nonetheless, this kind of horrified reaction should be taken seriously. According to medical literature, some people's bedbug fantasies spiral into delusional parasitosis, where they imagine being devoured by insects. 
    And the San Francisco news media seem to have succumbed. Like a parasitosis sufferer, local TV and radio stations and newspapers have recently delivered a rash of bogus trend stories alerting the public to an imminent bedbug plague, despite a lack of reliable information. The stories were overblown. 
    Local reporters had latched onto one of the most pervasive, durable, bogus trend stories in America, which essentially says, "Bedbugs Spread Across America in Search of Delicious Fresh Humans," to cite a tongue-in-cheek August headline on

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