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One opossum caught on campus, mother treating fleas on children

By: Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado & Jessica Johnson

One opossum has been caught at Fresno State after the administration became aware that fleas were possibly infesting areas of the campus.

Fresno State Vice President of Administration Debbie Adishian-Astone confirmed the capture on Friday after saying earlier this week that a wildlife contractor would be brought in.

She said the university’s pest control contractor has also sprayed for fleas around the Family and Food Sciences, Home Management and the  Kremen School of Education and Human Development buildings.

On Monday, several students on the Facebook group Fresno State Book Trade and Advice page reported that their children who stayed a daycare site on campus had bites on their bodies and believed the fleas were to blame.

Adishian-Astone said the fleas were indeed suspected to be coming from wild opossums living on campus. But It is not clear how many opossums there are.

The Collegian reached out to Erika Leak a Fresno State alumna, who posted on the page and said she noticed flea bites on her children.

Leak posted on Facebook: “My kids who are enrolled in the [Fresno State] day care have been coming home with bumps. My kids’ teacher confirmed that there are fleas all around school campus and that they have fumigated inside their centers.”

She told The Collegian via Facebook she initially thought the bites on her 5-year-old daughter Chelsie were from mosquitoes. She noticed her daughter had about five bites. Her son, Matteo, who is 8 months old, has nearly 20 bites, Leak said.

Then, she noticed bites on her daughter Alexis, 2, who also attends a daycare at Fresno State. Alexis had nearly 50 bites, Leak told The Collegian.

“Alexis had around 50 fleas all over her, and jumping off and on her,” Leak said. “Alexis [had] to be removed [from daycare] and showered immediately.”

Leak said her boyfriend, Ernesto Torres, who attends Fresno State, has about 10 bites. And she fears the fleas are now in her home. She said she has also noticed bites on her.

“I was very upset because I had not been [informed] what measures had the school been taking on this matter,” Leak said.

Adishian-Astone said the Environmental Health and Safety office is monitoring the situation and will continue to work with Facilities Management to “ensure that the attributing factors associated with this problem are properly identified and managed.”