Woman says she was bitten by bed bugs at hotel

Sept. 1, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Carrie Lynn Brown is being treated for a painful infection. Brown says doctors caught that infection in time. If not, she might have lost her right leg.

The Towne Place Suites in Lombard was Brown's home away from home last week as she visited the area with a friend. But almost immediately she noticed she had little bite marks all over her skin when she woke up in the morning, and they itched.

"It was a slow evolution, a couple bites, a couple more bites, then the itching, then the swelling, then the inflamation, then the pain, then I couldn't walk," she told ABC7 from her hospital bed.

Brown says she noticed more bites every day. She thought it might have been a spider or mosquito bites, not bed bugs.

Her childhood friend, Karen Guy, with whom she was sharing the bed had no problems with the bugs. She did, however, snap a picture of one of the tiny critters which measured about 3/16 of an inch long.

"I saw a bug and I took a picture of it and showed it to the front desk. He said, 'oh, I don't really know what that is, I've never seen anything like that,'" said Guy.

Doctors say bed bugs generally come in groups and like warm dark places like beds at night. Their bites usually can be easily treated. But in this case a bite on Brown's leg became infected.

"That's what happened to her, she got a bacterial infection of the skin," said Dr. Pranjal Shah, Good Samaritan Hospital.

Doctors say bed bugs can be found anywhere regardless of sanitation or hygiene. The women say the hotel's manager, Mark Paprocki, gave them several letters confirming their exterminator found a bed bug in the room. In response to ABC7's call, Paprocki issued a statement saying in part, "In the rare instance where bed bugs are detected, our protocols call for, among other steps, the immediate removal of the guest room from inventory and the engaging of a pest elimination expert."

Brown says before this she never even knew bed bugs really existed. She haslearned a lot from the experience.

Doctors say they expect to release brown from the hospital tomorrow.

"I will never sleep in a bed that's not known to me or a new bed...I mean I will inspect the bed," she said.

The hotel has offered to pay for their room and buy them new clothes and luggage to replace what they had in the room.

Experts say there is really no way to prevent bed bugs from coming into your home or hotel. But if you spot one you should call a professional exterminator to get rid of them immediately.

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