New York City subway cars fumigated after bedbug sightings

NEW YORK Wed Aug 6, 2014 1:12pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Three New York City subway trains had to be fumigated after riders and staff spotted bedbugs in the cars, a transit spokesman said on Wednesday.

The bedbugs were found on the N train, which links Brooklyn's Coney Island with lower and midtown Manhattan and Astoria in Queens.

Two trains were taken out of service to be fumigated by exterminators on Sunday, and another on Tuesday, said Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the state-controlled agency that runs the subway.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we are also doing spot checks inside crew rooms," Ortiz said. The fumigations were first reported in the New York Daily News.

The New York City subway is one of the busiest transit systems in the world. Humans make nearly 5.5 million trips on the system on an average weekday. Ortiz said he was not aware of previous reports of bedbugs on the subway.

Bedbugs can grow to the size of an apple seed and feed on human blood. They sometimes leave behind itchy bite marks, rashes and the gnawing anxiety caused by a possible infestation, a perennial fear in crowded cities.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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