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Nashville government housing tower battling bed bugs

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Records obtained by the Channel 4 I-Team show a Metro high rise for the elderly, disabled and veterans is treating several apartments for a bed bug infestation.

Edwards Owens is one of the residents at Parthenon Towers, and up and down his arms are bites from bed bugs.

"It's like a forest fire. You put out one fire, it kicks up somewhere else," Owens said.

The Channel 4 I-Team reviewed Metro Development and Housing Agency records, and they show 10 cases of bedbugs so far this year at Parthenon Towers. Six of the cases have occurred in just the past two months.

To make matters worse, residents told the Channel 4 I-Team that when furniture has been thrown out behind the tower at a dumpster because it was infested with bedbugs, some people living in the towers brought it back in.

The Channel 4 I-Team found mattresses behind the towers with bedbugs Monday afternoon.

"Eventually [management] had to threaten people that if you're caught bringing this stuff back in the building, it's grounds for eviction," Owens said.

MDHA spokeswoman Holly McCall said they're using alcohol wipes in the common areas and conduct monthly inspections.

"We treat not only that apartment, but the ones on the other side, the one above it and the one below it, and they get three treatments," McCall said.

The Metro Health Department confirms they've met with MDHA about the bed bugs, but because it is not considered a public health threat, there's not much they can do.

"Bed bugs are a nuisance. They are an annoyance, but they are not known to spread disease, from a public health standpoint," said Brian Todd, spokesman for the Metro Health Department.

MDHA points out the towers house hundreds of residents, so the 10 cases are small in comparison.

Residents, however, believe there are more cases than what is being reported to MDHA.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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