Cockroaches Found at British Columbia Island Hospital but 'These Bugs Do Not Bite,' Health Authority Says

The roaches were reportedly crawling around Saanich Peninsula Hospital on Vancouver Island

CTV News; Getty
CTV News; Getty

The Vancouver Island Health Authority has confirmed the presence of cockroaches at a Canadian hospital — which reports say were climbing on patient bedding, the walls, and at times, on the patients themselves.

“What I've heard is that the cockroaches have been, like, caught climbing on bedding and on curtains in between patient rooms and just, like, very visible and so, that is disturbing,” British Columbia Nurses Union President Adriane Gear told told CTV about the situation at Saanich Peninsula Hospital, located on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

“These bugs do not bite and do not transmit disease,” a representative for Island Health, the publicly funded entity that oversees the hospital, told PEOPLE in a statement, which said that the bugs are German cockroaches.

However, according to the pest control company Orkin Canada, while bites are “rare,” German cockroaches can and do bite, largely when humans are asleep.

“They may feed off of food particles left on human faces and skin,” the company says. “Everything from small crumbs to dead skin may entice them to feed near or on a human. As cockroaches remain vectors of disease, the bites may cause secondary infections.”

<p>Google Earth</p> Saanich Peninsula Hospital.

Google Earth

Saanich Peninsula Hospital.

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German cockroaches are the most common species of cockroach in Canada, the pest control company says.

A CDC report on cockroaches in an intensive care unit points out that “cockroaches can cause 2 potentially serious health problems. First, they may provoke allergic reactions. Second, they have been suggested as possible vectors of multidrug-resistant pathogens.”

As the, the hospital representative told PEOPLE, “Staff have been asked to record sightings. Since Apr. 22 no cockroaches have been spotted.”

"Despite this, pest control measures will continue," the statement continued "We have established protocols to respond whenever insects are discovered in our health-care facilities. Response measures include traps, pest management and prevention as well as enhanced house cleaning procedures."

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CTV News journalist Penny Daflos, who broke the story, posted on X, “This is disgusting and I've never heard of such a thing: cockroaches in Saanich Peninsula Hospital.”

“Upon confirming, @VanIslandHealth was quick to point out 'they do not bite.' Does that make it ok?? Baffling response, no mea culpa or apology to patients.”

"Saanich Peninsula Hospital remains a safe place to access care," the representative for Island Health told PEOPLE.

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