The French government said Tuesday it would host emergency meetings this week to examine surging numbers of reported bedbug cases, which are being increasingly seen as a major potential public health problem.

Bedbugs have in recent weeks gone from being a subject of potential derision to a contentious political issue in France, with aghast citizens reporting seeing the creatures in locations including trains, the Paris metro and cinemas.

The concerns have gained added weight with France in the throes of hosting the Rugby World Cup and Paris preparing to welcome athletes and fans from around the world for the 2024 Olympics.