Paris police station evacuated after invasion of fleas

A police station in northeastern Paris had to be evacuated on Sunday after it was invaded by fleas, a police union said.

Paris police station evacuated after invasion of fleas
Photo: AFP

“Police station closed until further notice!” read an notice stuck to the front door of the station, which is located in the 19th district of the French capital. 

In a fit of pique on Twitter, the Alliance police union said the station had been invaded by the blood-sucking pests, “making working conditions INTOLERABLE!!!” 

Despite pest control efforts, the problem, which first surfaced three weeks ago, had not been eradicated with officers itching like crazy after suffering multiple bites, France Bleu Paris radio station reported. 

And even off duty, some had inadvertently taken the fleas with them, with the high-hopping pests causing havoc back home, even biting their children, a union official told the station. 

The Alliance union is demanding that the entire site be de-infested, saying it should have been done weeks ago. 

Union officials are to meet on Monday with Interior Minister Christophe Castaner when they are sure to give him a flea in the ear.

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MAP: Where are the worst places in France for bed-bugs?

It's been the bane of many a tourist's visit - an infestation of bed-bugs. But the problem in France is so bad that every year thousands of people require medical help.

MAP: Where are the worst places in France for bed-bugs?
Photo: AFP

New data published by the French health ministry shows that between April 2019 and March 2020, 70,000 people made a visit to their doctor that was linked to bed-bugs.

Skin lesions from the bites were the most common reason for the doctor's visit, but many people also reported feeling stressed, anxious and unable to sleep due to the presence of the irritating creatures in their bed.

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In recent years many of the world's tourist hotspots – including Paris – have seen a sharp rise in the number of bed-bug infestations as temperatures rise and the insects become immune to common insecticide treatments.

The data from the French health ministry also gives a breakdown on the areas where the most consultations took place, per 100,000 of the population.

The greater Paris Île-de-France region shows a surprisingly small number of cases, but the data comes from visits to GPs, so is unlikely to include any tourists who have been bitten by the bugs while staying in the capital.

However hoteliers in the area admit that it is a problem.

In 2018 alone, there were 100,000 bed-bug infestations in Paris, according to the French Union for Pest Control (CS3D), a scourge that is now also affecting the capital's hotel industry. 

READ ALSO 'You're better of sleeping in your car' – How Paris is plagued by bed bugs

The southern regions of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur – which includes the French riviera, Nice and Marseille – and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region – which includes Lyon and Alpine holiday resorts – showed the highest number of consultation per head of the population.