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Were bed bugs bugging tourists after F1?

Updated February 22, 2024 - 7:35 pm

Over the past six months, when over 13 million people visited Las Vegas, there have been at least seven reports of bedbugs found in Strip-area hotels.

Bedbugs were found at Encore, The Mirage, The Venetian and Excalibur, among others, since the start of September, according to documents obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal from the Southern Nevada Health District.

The Health District received over 60 reports of bedbugs in Las Vegas hotels since the start of September, and only seven cases were verified. No fines were issued by the Health District.

It’s expected that any city that gets as many travelers as Las Vegas can get bedbugs, said Chow-Yang Lee, a professor and the endowed chair of Urban Entomology at University of California, Riverside, who has studied the global trends of bedbugs.

“When you have a lot of people coming at the same time from all over the world, that’s always a risk,” Lee said.

The Health District records showed no spike in bedbug cases even after Las Vegas hosted large global events such as the Formula One Grand Prix, which attracted 145,000 visitors, and the CES trade show, which had around 130,000 attendees.

But Health District records provide an incomplete picture as hotels don’t have to report instances of bedbugs.

Hotels with positive tests were:

■ Encore hotel, a guest complained in December about bedbugs in their room, and a bedbug detection dog found a live bug and the room was treated. Wynn Resorts said that from November to early February, the company had 378,000 guests in Las Vegas and only one positive bedbug report.

“Previous to that, the last reported incident was more than two-and-a-half years ago and upon further investigation was determined to be negative,” a Wynn Resorts spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “Although we are one of the most visited destinations on the Strip, we believe the reason we have so few reported incidents is due to our extensive cleaning protocols, and that as a preventative measure a member of our full-time K9 team is specifically trained and 100 percent dedicated to detection.”

■ The Mirage, a guest complained in October that they had been bitten by bedbugs, and the room was treated. The Mirage declined to comment for this story.

■ The Venetian, a guest complained in September about bedbugs and the room in question was treated. The Venetian didn’t respond to a request for comment.

■ The Excalibur, a guest complained in October they found bedbugs and the room was treated. MGM Resorts International referred to a comment they provided the Review-Journal in September in which they said: “Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our guests. We have rigorous preventative measures and response protocols in place, so guests can relax and enjoy their stay.”

■ Dragon Hotel, the Health District record from January said bedbugs were found in multiple rooms after a complaint, all the rooms were treated for bedbugs. The Dragon Hotel didn’t respond to a request for comment.

■ Extended Stay America on Flamingo Road, a guest complained in January that a room had bedbugs, the room was then treated. Extended Stay America didn’t respond to a request for comment.

■ Club De Soleil, a guest complained in December that a room had bedbugs, the room was treated. Club De Soleil didn’t respond to a request for comment.

When asked for comment about the reports, Nevada Resort Association said bedbugs are a risk for any hotel but said its members take great care to address the issue.

“With approximately 155,000 hotel rooms and 41 million annual visitors, four of our members’ rooms impacted over a nearly five-month period that generated millions of room nights show these are extremely rare and isolated occurrences,” the association said in an emailed statement. “The minute number of incidents reflects the comprehensive and proactive health and safety measures and pest-control procedures Las Vegas resorts have in place to prevent and address issues.”

Contact Sean Hemmersmeier at shemmersmeier@reviewjournal.com. Follow @seanhemmers34 on X.

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