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The Times
  • O’Keefe: No evidence of bed bugs at jail

  • A Utica woman said the cell her brother is incarcerated in at the Herkimer County Correctional Facility is infested with bed bugs.

    Bernece Dow said her brother, Lee Dow, of Herkimer, has been jailed at the facility in the village of Herkimer since Monday for failure to pay child support.

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  • A Utica woman said the cell her brother is incarcerated in at the Herkimer County Correctional Facility is infested with bed bugs.
    Bernece Dow said her brother, Lee Dow, of Herkimer, has been jailed at the facility in the village of Herkimer since Monday for failure to pay child support.
    “He called me yesterday and informed me his cell is covered in bed bugs,” said Bernece Dow during a telephone interview on Wednesday afternoon. “We called the public health department and they wouldn’t do nothing about it.”
    Herkimer County Undersheriff George Treen, Jr. denied any problem with bed bugs at the jail during a telephone interview on Wednesday afternoon.
    Herkimer County Public Health Director Dr. Gregory O’Keefe said “we have heard similar allegations, but we checked from the different jails where our inmates come from, and all the areas were cleaned and examined with that in mind.”
    O’Keefe added during the telephone interview on Wednesday, “We’re not aware that we have an outbreak at all ... There’s been no evidence of that within the facility.”
    Information supplied by Public Health stated bed bugs are small, flat insects that feed on the blood of sleeping people and animals. They are reddish-brown in color, wingless and range from one to seven millimeters in length. They can live several months without a blood meal.
    The information also stated infestations usually occur around or near the areas where people sleep or spend a significant period of time, including apartments, shelters, rooming houses, hotels, nursing homes, hospitals, cruise ships, buses, trains and dorm rooms. Bed bugs hide during the day in the seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper and under any clutter or objects around a bed. They can fit into the smallest of spaces and can remain in place for long periods of time. They can travel over 100 feet in one night, but they tend to live within eight feet of where people sleep, the information stated.
    One of the easiest ways to identify a bed bug infestation is by bite marks that appear on the face, neck, arms, hands and any other body parts. The marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea — a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. However, the bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area, the information stated. These signs may include the exoskeletons of bed bugs after molting, bed bugs in the fold of mattresses and sheets, a sweet musty odor and rusty-colored blood spots from their blood-filled fecal material excreted on the mattress or furniture.

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