Monday, November 29, 2010

Beastly business

Infestations of bedbugs have unfold across New York and no-one understands exactly where they'll turn up up coming.

In current days there continues to be a buzz of exercise inside the UN's corridors of electrical power: intense discussions inside the hallways, reporters conferring in hushed tones, a flurry of e-mails.

Are the Palestinians about to declare statehood? May be the Safety Council about to authorise a military strike on Iran? Is civil war breaking out once again in Sudan?

Nope. Anything of substantially better import when you are a UN correspondent: a creeping infestation of bedbugs.

It is a scourge at this time afflicting New York, together with the bugs operating rampant by motels and, if 1 believes the relatively hysterical media coverage, spreading in an uncontrolled contagion to buildings this kind of as theatres, outlets, eating places and households.

Bloodsucking pests

Now, bedbugs are not dangerous or life-threatening, though their bites itch and sting.

The real discomfort is the fact that, the moment a spot is infested, a major and high priced fumigation method is essential to acquire rid of them.

A month in the past, the UN finally admitted it had been battling the blood-sucking pests in different parts of its sprawling office complex for over a year.

So their eventual discovery inside the UN media centre had an air of grim inevitability about it.

You can find only one way to sniff out bedbugs - with canines. If a dog smells a bedbug, she or he will bark.

So on the need of the UN press corps, Rover (or some model of him) was enlisted, and we waited with bated breath for the results.

The e-mail came at midnight and yes - in contrast to the renowned Sherlock Holmes story during which the dog will not bark inside the night time time - this time, it did (in two studios, no much less).

And 1 of them was ours. Oh the disgrace. Oh the horror.


But what to perform?

In the beginning we had rather quiet conversations about fumigation, wanting to delay the inevitable exposure. It was hopeless.

We agreed that worse than the BBC acquiring bedbugs could be for the BBC to cover up acquiring bed bugs.

In any circumstance, all of us previously knew. That is definitely 1 of the banes of working in a media centre exactly where journalists have a Rover-like nose for stories.

Some turned it right into a joke.

A single threw caution towards the wind and knocked on our door to specific solidarity: "I know what it appears like to be stigmatised," he stated, "I've had bedbugs."

But most gave the BBC office a large berth.

In panic, I turned to my husband.

He was dismissive. This terror of bedbugs is ludicrous, he stated. It is all part of the tradition of worry in America, the newest model of "reds under the bed". 1st it was communists, then Obama the Islamist terrorist, and now bedbugs.

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