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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Lawmakers May Look To Shield Bed Bug Data

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon businesses and homeowners who are battling bed bugs would get a new level of anonymity under a measure being considered in Salem. A House panel will take up a bill next week that would shield data about bed bugs from public disclosure.

Steve Keifer with the Oregon Health Authority says bed bugs are much more prevalent in Oregon than they were just a few years ago. But how common are the tiny pests? No one really knows.

Keifer says property owners and pesticide companies aren't required to notify the state when they attack the little critters. So why don’t they just volunteer the info?

"A lot of people are kind of reluctant to report it because of the stigma attached to bed bugs," Keifer says.

A measure in the Oregon legislature would shield bed bug reports from the public eye. It's an attempt to encourage property owners to come forward. That would give public health officials more data to help formulate a response.

Of course, with the popularity of traveler review websites such as Yelp and Tripadvisor, it's unlikely any hotel with a bedbug problem would stay completely under the radar.

On the Web:

HB 2131 - Oregon bed bug bill (Oregon Legislature)
Bed bug fact sheet (Oregon Health Authority)