"One of every 15 New Yorkers battled bedbugs last year, officials said Wednesday as they announced a plan to fight the spreading infestation, including a public-awareness campaign and a top entomologist to head the effort. The bloodsucking pests, which are not known to spread disease but can cause great mental anguish with their persistent and fast-growing infestations, have rapidly multiplied throughout New York and many other U.S. cities in recent years. Health officials and pest control specialists nationwide report surges in sightings, bites and complaints. The Environmental Protection Agency hosted its first-ever bedbug summit last year. In New York City, the pests have been discovered in theaters, clothing stores, office buildings, housing projects and posh apartments. The stigma of having bedbugs — whose bites leave itchy red welts — and the elusive nature of the pests make it impossible to fully understand the problem, experts say."