NEW YORK, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Bedbugs have turned up in at least 16 schools in New York this school year, but school officials say it's not an epidemic.
As the city at large has seen a surge in the pests, schools are reporting a rise in confirmed cases, 336 in the first two months of this school year compared with 135 in the same period in 2009, the New York Daily News reported Friday.
Education Department officials insist it's not an epidemic since schools have few beds and, therefore, have not become breeding grounds. They also stressed that a confirmed case could be the discovery of a single bug.
"We do not have infestations," spokeswoman Margie Feinberg said. "Schools are required to report specimens."
Some parents and students say they don't find that comforting.
"I think it's an epidemic. Bedbugs are everywhere," said Anna Shter, 37, whose son is a kindergartner at a Brooklyn school where bedbugs were found twice in the last month.
Brianna Simmons, 10, a fifth-grader at the school, remembered being informed of the bedbugs by school officials.
"I was, like, 'OMG, there's bedbugs in the school,'" she said.
Bedbugs were reported at schools in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, the Daily News reported.