Online Program

Bed bugs: The new scourge of the poor

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 3:30 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.

Denise Chrysler, J.D., University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI
Bed bugs are a serious public health problem that affects people in all types of housing and at all income levels. However, the bugs may have a disproportionate impact on poor people. This presentation looks at reasons that bed bugs disproportionately affect the poor and challenges that poor people face in attempting to obtain and maintain housing that is bed bug free. The session will cover shortcomings of legal remedies established by landlord-tenant laws and discuss and compare approaches that some state and local governments have taken by enacting bed bug specific laws. Although bed bugs are not known to cause disease, they are “environmentally communicable” spreading from place to place. Like disease, they cause great suffering and must be addressed by the entire community as a public health issue. This presentation will explore efforts to educate and organize landlords, tenants, and the wider community to take shared responsibility for prevention, surveillance, early identification and integrated response and treatment to eliminate this scourge that has returned from long ago.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify three reasons that bed bugs disproportionately affect the poor. Explain why landlord-tenant law in most states fails to protect tenants from bed bug infestations. Compare bed bug specific laws that have been passed by some state and local governments to address bed bug infestations in rental housing. Formulate strategies to improve effective response to bed bug infestations.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Director of the Network for Public Health Law-Mid-States Region, which provides technical assistance, training and opportunities for peer assistance on legal issues related to bed bugs. Previously, I served as legal counsel to a state health department where I participated on the statewide bed bug work group, and was the primary author of the sections of the state's Bed Bug Manual related to legal interventions for bed bug infestations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.