The rail service takes action as reports of bedbug infestations surge in the French capital.
Eurostar has announced the introduction of “preventative measures” on its Paris-London train service in response to the recent surge in bedbug outbreaks within the French capital. Videos posted by French social media users have depicted the presence of these pests on the Paris train network over the past few weeks.
Transport for London, however, has reported no knowledge of bedbug outbreaks on its network.
Leading bedbug expert, Dr. Will Hentley, believes that the situation in France is unlikely to significantly affect the UK. He mentioned that bedbugs are already “fairly prevalent” across the UK, and the situation in Paris is unlikely to exacerbate the issue.
The blood-feeding insects have also been discovered in Parisian cinemas, hospitals, and private residences, prompting French authorities to emphasize the importance of addressing the problem before next summer’s Olympics.
A Eurostar spokesperson reassured travelers, stating, “The safety and well-being of our customers is always our top priority, and the presence of insects, such as bedbugs, on our trains is extremely rare.”
They highlighted that textile seats on their trains undergo regular and thorough cleaning, including the use of a hot-water injection cleaning system and extraction cleaning, which have proven to be “highly effective in eliminating bugs.”
Transport for London has pledged to maintain its “rigorous and thorough cleaning measures” while continuing to monitor the network.
Dr. Hentley, an academic from the University of Sheffield’s School of Biosciences, indicated that bedbugs are already prevalent in the UK’s major cities. He reassured the public, stating that there’s a limited risk of the situation worsening due to bedbugs already existing in the country.
While bedbugs on public transport in urban areas aren’t new, their presence has been on the rise globally, with factors like international trade and travel contributing to their spread.
Dr. Hentley also noted that it’s unclear whether there has been a significant increase in bedbug outbreaks in France or if awareness has simply grown due to viral social media videos.
One potential factor for the rise could be the cost-of-living crisis, which may limit people’s ability to afford professional pest control services. Nevertheless, Dr. Hentley emphasized that there’s no need to panic or avoid public transport, as the situation remains under control.