Woman suffers 300 bed bug bites

01:08, Dec 28 2013
Debbie Roome attacked by bed bugs
Debbie Roome's bed bug bites.
Debbie Roome attacked by bed bugs
Debbie Roome's bed bug bites.
Debbie Roome attacked by bed bugs
Debbie Roome's bed bug bites.
Debbie Roome attacked by bed bugs
Debbie Roome's bed bug bites.

A woman who suffered a violent allergic reaction after being bitten more than 300 times by bed bugs at an Auckland motel says she would not wish the agony of her ordeal on anyone.

Debbie Roome, of Christchurch, woke up on December 15 in the Auckland Airport Kiwi Motel in Mangere, sensing something wasn't right.

"I switched my cellphone on and I could see in the light all these little bugs scurrying around the bed and in the pillows. It was disgusting.

RECOVERING: Debbie Roome suffered more than 300 bed bug bites.

"My friend was in the other bed, and I didn't want to wake her up so I just sat on the corner of the bed for two hours until 5.30 because I wasn't going to lie down with them again."

At that stage, Roome only had a few small bites visible, but they flared up during the day and appeared all over her body, including her face and both arms.

"By the time I was supposed to fly home they had come up in huge red welts and were painful as well as itchy, and they had spread to my face, which was covered in big blotches and my lips had started tingling.


"Air New Zealand said it wasn't safe to fly me home in the condition I was in.

Assisted by airport staff, Roome was taken to an emergency clinic for treatment and had to stay another night in Auckland - this time at a different motel.

Roome was finally in a condition to travel the next day, but her return to Christchurch was not the end of her nightmare.

The bites had not settled down, and Roome woke up on Christmas Eve with a temperature and big blotches all over her face again.

"My doctor was horrified, he said it looked like I had been bitten the day before, rather than 10 or 11 days ago.

"So he put me on antibiotics and cortisone which is finally working. They're still quite visible, but the itching is almost gone."

The violent allergic reaction Roome suffered was due to the sheer number of times she had been bitten, she was told by the doctor she saw in Auckland.

The Auckland Airport Kiwi Motel had refunded Roome's accommodation for the night she stayed there and have paid out about $130 to cover her additional expenses, she said.

"Air New Zealand didn't charge me for the change of flights, but I had the expense of an extra night in Auckland and the medication and the doctors visits."

"My total expenses have been about $305, and it was all a direct result of my staying in the room and being bitten, so I really think they should have covered the whole amount," she said.

Motel manager Shalend Prasad said they had investigated the incident and had pest management policies in place.

"Bed bugs you know, they travel with the guests. They travel with their luggage. In a motel each and every time, everyday a guest checks in and a guest checks out.

"In this lady's matter I have been in contact with her, and if we have a complaint upon the checkout I might help as much as I can.''

Prasad said he had sympathy for Roome and had refunded her some charges but he was not sure if it was for the full costs.

Roome was not hopeful about recovering the rest of her costs from the motel.

"Even on Facebook I didn't mention the name of the motel, I was being fair.

"But when I had to go back to the doctor on Christmas Eve I emailed both email addresses I had for the motel, and they didn't even have the courtesy to respond to me.

"So I thought - that's it. Basically time to name and shame, because what they've done is not right."