MIAMI -

UM students were stunned and parents were even more surprised to learn that in a lofty, expensive UM campus tower, a lowly bed bug infestation has been creeping and crawling for at least a week.

Students said they woke up to an email while on Thanksgiving break notifying them bed bugs had broken out in the McDonald tower on the 11th floor. According to the email, 19 rooms were infested, 19 others treated as a precaution. They say the fifth, 10th and 12th floor were hit, too.

Several students were put up at the Holiday Inn. The university has even been providing shuttle service while they try to exterminate the contagious problem.

Bed buds feed on human blood and can sometimes cause welts and rashes. In addition, they're highly contagious.

Alec Rodriguez said, "I have friends worried and wouldn't let others come in because bed bugs would spread."

Several students and parents said the university, though, wasn't worried enough to notify all of them of possible risks. Numerous parents said they didn't know of the bed bug problem until Local 10 notified them.

Placido Rodriguez said, "I don't want to know from my kids second hand. We should know directly."

But a university spokesperson would not directly answer a single question about the bugs Wednesday night, but instead issued a statement saying:

"The university takes this issue very seriously, and a vigorous treatment to eradicate them and prevent future outbreaks is already underway."

Many are now not only worried about the bugs, but about the quiet way in which they are being swept under the rug.