Irish tourists travelling to Spain this summer are being warned of a ‘new tropical bug’ that feeds on human blood and is found in hotels.
Health watchdogs in Spain have raised the alarm about the new form of bed bug which they say has been discovered in tourist accommodation.
The National Association of Environmental Health Companies (ANECPLA) warned in the last few days that the new bug has been identified and feeds on human blood.
The parasitic insect is between 5 and 6mm and is of the bed bug species.
Bites from the insect can cause discomfort and even various allergic reactions, insomnia or stress.
Jorge Galvan, director general of ANECPLA, said: ‘Due to their tiny size, it is common for them to stow away among clothes or suitcases, causing new infestations in homes, hotels, apartments, etc.
‘Globalization, higher levels of pollution and rising temperatures due to climate change are behind this resurgence of bedbugs in Europe.
‘This is undoubtedly a very serious emerging public health problem that we at ANECPLA believe is important to transcend the private sphere and be addressed at the institutional level. Otherwise, we run the risk of it becoming chronic, with all the implications that this may have.’
The bugs are closely linked with the hotel sector and tourist accommodation but the standard of accommodation does not matter when it comes to the bugs.
In recent years, the bed bug population has increased by more than 500 per cent.
Originally from Asia, cimex hemipterus in recent years has been colonising Australia, the United States, and Europe.
It is a species that is highly resistant to conventional insecticides.
And while the bugs are not so far linked with disease transmission ANECPLA warned this may not always be the case.
‘ANECPLA urges the necessary collaboration between the sector and the Public Administrations in order to carry out a more rigorous control of this issue.
‘Until now, Chagas disease – a fatal disease endemic to Central and South America – has been the only one proven to be transmitted by bed bugs, despite its powerful vectorial capacity. However, this circumstance can change at any time’. 
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