The alert would have been given this Wednesday morning. The driver of a metro line 8, which connects Créteil to Balard, reportedly said he saw bed bugs in his cabin. If the RATP confirms that a report has been made, concerning a suspicion of presence of the parasite, it ensures that "to date, no proven case of bed bug has been found in our equipment (metro, RER, tram and bus)".
After being notified of the report, the Force Ouvrière (FO) union asked the management of public transport in the Paris region that the staff premises and all metros and RER be treated. With, in priority, lines 7, 8 and 13 because of the fabric of which the seats of the driver's cabs are made. That's between 500 and 1,000 trains. "In accordance with the protocol, the train concerned was taken out of commercial service for appraisal. It will be treated by a specialized company if the presence of the pest is proven, "said the RATP.
For Samy Ouaxel, member of the Health, Safety and Working Conditions Commission (CSSCT) of the RATP, "we must not wait for an alert to be given each time to act. It is known that there is an upsurge of bed bugs in the capital. Something must be done knowing that transport is used every day by millions of users. »
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Two possible treatment modes
But is it really feasible to treat an entire train against bed bugs? According to Jean-Michel Berenger, entomologist specializing in bed bugs at the IHU Méditerranée Infection in Marseille, two modes of action exist: "The chemical process consists of spraying insecticide on the seats, twice. The eggs resist the first pass so it is necessary to treat a second time. In between, it is possible to put trains back into service. The second option, thermal, boils down to placing trains in heated tunnels. This method is radical because bed bugs and eggs do not survive extreme temperatures.
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For now, if the presence of the parasite in RATP transport is proven, the best ways to protect yourself are to pack your belongings in a plastic bag or use a mosquito repellent spray. And especially to inspect yourself when leaving: "Vigilance is part of prevention," says Jean-Michel Berenger. For its part, the RATP recalls that "we carry out punctual treatments, curative or preventive, with insecticides to fight against pests, such as cockroaches and ants. "