NASHVILLE, TENN. - You may have cohabitated with bed bugs at some point in your life, but can you imagine living with them for a year? Anyone can get them and anyone can spread them.
Some Tennessee prisoners sent the NBC affiliate in Nashville proof that they're dealing with bed bugs.
The letter came from two inmates at South Central Correctional Center, a private prison in Clifton, Tenn.
Taped down on the letters were several dead insects.
WSMV News 4 took them to Belmont University professor and entomologist Dr. Steven Murphree.
“I can tell it's a bed bug. I just haven't seen one that is so large like that,” Murphree said.
The letters sent to the newsroom said the bed bug problem in the mental health building has been going on for a year. They said while employees do spray once in a while, the spray doesn't work.
“The sooner these infestations can be identified and dealt with the better before they get really big,” Murphree said.
South Central is owned and operated by CoreCivic.
The inmates say when a former staff member alerted CoreCivic to the issue, they said he was unqualified to identify a bed bug, so they asked the NBC affiliate in Nashville if they might be able to help.
Murphree explained bed bugs are pretty easy to spot and not easy to get rid of.
“As long as there is a blood source for the bed bugs they are not going to be finicky about it. They are going to continue to blood-feed and grow and increase their numbers,” Murphree said.
Jonathan Burns, the spokesperson for CoreCivic sent NBC Affiliate, WSMV, this statement:
"The health and safety of our employees and the individuals entrusted to our care is our top priority. CoreCivic received a report concerning the possible presence of bedbugs at South Central Correctional Center in August 2017. Facility leadership moved aggressively to address the issue.
Within 24 hours of receiving the initial report, the facility was professionally inspected and treated for bedbugs.
Follow-up treatments and inspections were conducted throughout the month of August. While indications are that the issue has been resolved, professional inspections are continuing.
Prior to August 2017, South Central received no complaints or sick requests among inmates or employees at South Central regarding the possible presence of bedbugs."
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