OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — A problem has been growing across Oklahoma, and it’s bed bugs. They have found their way into the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center, shutting down a portion of the 8th floor so staff can exterminate, clean and sanitize the area.

“Bed bugs tend to find hosts that get transported on luggage or on an individual,” Casey Zwirtz, Assistant Director of operations at the OKC VA Medical Center said. “So, as they come in for their care with us, sometimes we identified there might be bed bugs.”

Bed bugs took over portions of the 8th floor, something Casey says is a common issue in health care.

“We will isolate those rooms that that person was in and then we’ll do a full, deep cleaning and do a chemical test, pest control, and then we’ll do other procedures to make sure that that area is safe prior to bringing patients back into those areas,” Zwirtz said.

Staff identified the bed bugs on Monday and have since entered protocol.

“So in addition to us doing the the chemical pesticide treatments of these rooms, we are also doing heat treatments,” Zwirtz said.

While that has proven to be effective, they also have to treat the patients.

“What one thing that we’re doing specifically for some of our patients as they come in is we are trading their clothes out for just disposable gowns and things like that,” Zwirtz said. “We’re washing all of their things for them and then giving it back to them while they’re in the hospital to help prevent some of that those bed bug issues or other issues as they come into our facility.”

Zwirtz says they have isolated the bed bug issue. The patients, along with the rooms have been cleaned. Clothes, furniture and equipment have been sanitized and they expect to have that portion of the 8th floor back open sometime next week.