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Bed bug scare grips France ahead of Paris Olympics

Team Kenya’s delegation ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics might have a fresh headache to ponder, amid reports of a bed bug infestation in France.

The Olympic Games, considered the second biggest sports event in the world after the Fifa World Cup, will be staged in the French capital between July 26, 2024, and August 11, 2024.

But reports of bedbugs in the European country have raised concerns for the hundreds of Kenyan athletes headed to Paris.

They include the Sevens Rugby Team christened Shujaa, and the Women’s Volleyball Team dubbed Malkia Strikers, which recently defeated Cameroon to snatch the sole qualification berth reserved for Africa at the Olympics.

Other Kenyan star athletes headed to the Olympics include marathoner Eliud Kipchoge who will be eyeing a record third Olympic title over the 42km race, 1500 metres sensation Faith Kipyegon, and 800m dazzler Mary Moraa.

“I want to win at the Olympics again to show that nothing is impossible. I am focussed and have begun my preparations,” said Kipchoge, fresh from winning the Berlin marathon, in a recent interview with CNN.

Kenya is the most successful African team in the history of the Olympics.

In the 2020 edition of the Olympics held in Tokyo, Kenya finished 19th overall and 1st in Africa with a medal haul of 10 medals comprising four Gold, four Silver, and two Bronze.

So dire is the bedbug situation in France meanwhile that this week, Algerian authorities tightened health measures at its borders to limit the spread of bedbugs from France.

On the other hand, neighboring countries like Morocco have also announced measures to limit the risk of bed bugs spreading into their territory.

Bed bugs aren’t a new problem in France’s capital – but things seem to have got worse recently.

They have been spotted in homes, cinemas, hospitals and trains, according to reports.

Emmanuel Gregoire, deputy mayor of Paris, described them as a “scourge” and a “public health problem” as he called on the prime minister to act.

The city has been waging war on the creatures for years. In 2020, the government launched a campaign to tackle the problem, setting up an emergency helpline where people could get expert advice.

More than one in 10 French households had a bedbug infestation between 2017 and 2022, according to a report from ANSES, the French health and safety agency.

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