Tsikidzi Outbreak Hit Mbare Flats

Matererini Flats residents in Harare’s high-density suburb, Mbare have appealed to Government and well-wishers to assist with fumigation of apartments which are infested with bedbugs.

The residents through their Mbare Cousins Community Trust (MCCT) spokesperson Mr Happymore Kunaka yesterday said they noticed the infestation three months ago.

He said the bedbugs were out of control adding they needed urgent assistance.

Mr Kunaka added that over the past weeks, they have tried to use various chemicals to eliminate the bedbugs, but the situation has not changed.

“Last week we used a certain chemical and it helped eliminate some of the bedbugs. However, we believe the bedbugs had laid many eggs which hatched after we fumigated and there was re-infestation,” he revealed.

He added that the bedbugs were a result of overcrowding and poor hygiene. Second-hand clothes traders, he complained, could also have contributed to the infestation.

“Apart from burst sewer pipes which are not being attended to by the Harare City Council, we also blame traders of second-hand clothes who store their wares in the flats. We believe they contributed to importation of the bed bugs,” Mr Kunaka bemoaned.

At Matererini Flats, affected residents desperately scratched their bodies to get temporary relief from itching they described as intense.

Residents have also found ways to control the bedbugs, though these are not as effective as fumigation. Ms Dassy Kabasa of Block 4 said she has been using ingredients from her kitchen.

“I have been using turmeric powder and baking soda to get rid of the bugs at night.It helps but not for a long period. Bed bugs are usually active during that time,” she revealed.

Other residents said each morning they hang their blankets in the open hoping heat from the sun will help kill the bedbugs.

Harare City Council acting spokesperson Mr Innocent Ruwende professed ignorance about the outbreak saying “council has not been informed of this.”

Bedbugs, popularly known as ‘tsikidzi’ are small, reddish brown, flattened, wingless insects that feed on human blood and warm-blooded animals, usually at night. They are transported via luggage, clothing, bedding, furniture and human bodies. Bedbugs lay eggs in mattresses, bed frames, floorboards, and walls.


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