A bedbug infestation at King’s College Hospital’s maternity department has forced staff to wear protective clothing and visiting hours to be cut.
Mothers moving onto the postnatal ward are also being advised beds are being treated by pest control teams, and advised how to prevent the infestation from spreading to their homes.
Bedbugs are notoriously hard to get rid of once an infestation has taken hold, especially given some have built up a resistance to insecticides commonly used to kill them.
A spokesperson for the King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “A number of beds on the postnatal ward in our maternity department are being treated for bedbugs.
“Following specialist advice the appropriate treatment is being carried out in the affected areas, which includes deep cleaning.
“While the treatment process is ongoing, we have taken the decision to reduce visiting in maternity, and staff working in the affected areas are wearing appropriate protective clothing.
“Women being admitted on to the unit are being informed of the situation, and those being discharged are being given advice and guidance.”
Bedbugs are small insects that usually live in furniture and bed linen.
Although they are not commonly associated with health problems, some people can have a painful reaction to their bites.
Anyone with a suspected bed bug problem should contact Southwark Council, or a pest control company.
Preventative measures include cleaning and vacuuming regularly and using hot wash and tumble dry settings.