SALEM - The Salem City Health Department responded to its first bed bug complaint last month at an apartment building on East Fourth Street, attributing the source to a donated mattress and couch.
City Health Commissioner Richard Setty told the health board about the complaint during its meeting Monday. The commission was originally scheduled to meet last week, but due to a lack of quorum, moved the meeting to this week.
According to Setty, the complaint was filed on June 15 concerning one apartment in the Smith Center, with the bed bugs confined to that apartment. Environmental Director Bill Hayward conducted an inspection, contacted the inspector from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, spoke to the apartment manager, the occupant and pest control, which had already been contacted by the management.
Hayward had attended a seminar in Cleveland for bed bugs. As far as they knew, this was the first incidence reported in Salem.
"The idea here was to control it at the source," Setty said, adding the main issue was to work with the exterminator to make sure it didn't spread.
Wikipedia defined bed bugs as "parasitic insects that feed on blood." Setty said they could be brought here by a vacationer returning home after staying in a motel. In this particular case, though, he said they thought it was brought in via a donated mattress and a couch. He said it's illegal to resell a used mattress.
They've had no other complaints since this first one.
In other business, the board welcomed Columbiana County Health Commissioner Wesley Vins to the meeting. Vins was there to discuss an agreement regarding the Ohio Disease Reporting System, an electronic data base used to log, track and resolve cases of reported communicable diseases.
The board has been wanting more reports regarding communicable diseases and the new agreement approved by the board to have the county's epidemiologist serve as administrator of the system will help them get more information.
Salem's Director of Nusing Kathy Dugan will remain as administrator also and will work with Jaime Elenz, who will give training assistance and help organize the information. Dugan will still conduct the field work to investigate the cases. Vins said Elenz will provide Salem with a second set of eyes on the data.
He also said that on weekends and days that Dugan isn't working, having Elenz available will give them a higher level of response.
Vins took the opportunity to tell the board about two county programs available, including the testing of raccoons for rabies and the Mammovan, which he said they could arrange to visit Salem.
Vins also said he was pleased with the community response in the health area for the recent Beaver Valley Power Station federally-evaluated exercise. He worked with the health departments in East Liverpool and Salem for a regional response. During the meeting, Setty gave a certficate of recognition to Hayward from the Columbiana County Emergency Management Agency for his participation in the drill. He said Hayward was one of the participants singled out by an evaluator for his attention paid to the special needs population during the drill.
The board approved a complaint policy regarding food service operations, which would include restaurants. The board had already approved a policy regarding retail food establishments, such as stores which sell prepared food items.
In other news, Setty reported Hayward conducted 27 inspections of food vendors during the Salem Super Cruise, with no major issues. He said people were doing what they're supposed to be doing.
He also reported he cancelled the paper shredding service from Cintas of Brecksville at an expected savings of $200 per year. He said the company picked up documents every 10 to 12 weeks and he felt that it was a service they could live without, explaining they could shred the documents they're permitted to get rid of themselves.
The board met behind closed doors for nearly an hour for personnel matters in executive session, with no action taken.
The next board meeting will be held at 10 a.m. July 24 in health department offices at the Kent State University City Center on North Lincoln Avenue.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org