ANGOLA — A woman reportedly infested with bedbugs who was attending a hearing in the Steuben County Courthouse caused county officials to close the building in order to prevent the parasite from spreading.

The courthouse was declared closed after 10 a.m. the situation occurred.

“We had a client enter the premises who brought in with them (the bugs) that caused us a concern and we took care of it,” said Ron Smith, president of the Steuben County Board of Commissioners. Smith did not want to confirm the problem was bedbugs, but courthouse employees not authorized to speak to the media did confirm the pest.

Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. They can cause skin problems for their victims. Because they travel fast, they are a pest that need to be dealt with quickly, online sources said.

There was also chatter about the problem on social media outlets, mainly Facebook.

There obviously were some cases being heard in court at the time of the incident.

“They had to shut some things down,” Smith said.

Tuesday is typically family court day.

Smith said it was going to take about four hours to remedy the problem in the building.

Erin Schiffli, administrative assistant to the commissioners, announced the closing of the building shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Later in the day, Schiffli announced, “Please allow this email to serve as notice that the Steuben County Courthouse will reopen as normal tomorrow, Wednesday, January 15.”

The courthouse is occupied by the Circuit, Superior and Magistrate courts and staff and the Steuben County Clerk’s office.

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