Metro Health: Bug infestation at Aurora Apartments not as severe

SAN ANTONIO – The “gross infestation” of bed bugs and cockroaches at the Aurora Apartments is nowhere near the scope of what officials had seen initially, Carol Schliesinger, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Health District, said.

The Aurora, in the 500 block of Howard, across from Crockett Park, is an old high-rise apartment complex for seniors and the disabled, whose rents are subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“This is an 11-story building. You can’t just treat it overnight and get rid of it,” Schliesinger said.

She said HUD wants the owner to do at least 12 months of abatement to make sure another infestation doesn’t recur.

Professional exterminators were called in after code compliance officers acting on a complaint notified Metro Health earlier this month.

Schliesinger said Metro Health will be making weekly visits to the property through mid-April, then report back to HUD. She also said the owner is supposed to check random apartments for any sign of more bugs. Metro Health will verify the findings.

“It still remains a public health nuisance at this point,” Schliesinger said. “Until it is eradicated, we will continue to work with the management to ensure that there is not a nuisance from a public health standpoint.”

Schliesinger said when bed bugs bite, scratches can lead to infections and possibly other complications, especially for seniors, many of whom have skin that is thin and frail.

Schliesinger said Metro Health also plans to educate the Aurora’s residents and staff on how to avoid or control another infestation. She said since bed bugs can occur anywhere, from five-star hotels to movie theaters, it’s not a matter of laying blame, but rather being aware of how to prevent them from coming in and spreading.

A spokeswoman for HUD said Aurora residents who may have concerns or questions should call the department’s toll free number: 888-842-4484.

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