Public urged to heed rat control advice

The Acting Principal Health Inspector advised against using cats to eradicate rodents (Photo courtesy CSIRO)
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By Charminae George

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The public has been advised on how to deal with rodents after the stench of a dead rat outside the General Post Office prompted staff to suspend duties on Monday.

Acting Principal Health Inspector, Julienne Mannix, had this to say regarding food eaten at a work desk.

“When you’re finished eating…try to remove any bits and pieces of food that would’ve fell on the floor, on your desk. After you’re finished…wash your hands thoroughly,” she said.

“If you’re eating something that is greasy and then you touch whatever paperwork that you have inside of your desk, you get that on that file and then you have rats coming in…and wherever rats feed, they tend to urinate,” she explained.

Mannix mentioned one of the diseases that can be contracted by rat urine via innocent unconscious actions.

“You put your hand to your mouth, you rub your eyes. Easy for you to get leptospirosis through your eyes, through your mouth,” she warned.

According to regional health agency PAHO, leptospirosis is a disease caused by a bacterium called Leptospira. It is contracted via contact with the urine of infected animals. Symptoms of this disease include fever, headache, chills, conjunctival suffusion (eye redness), myalgia (muscle aches and pain) and jaundice (yellowing of the whites of the eyes).

Aimed at restaurant owners, Mannix advised against using cats to eradicate rodents.

“A cat is not a pest control operator. Cats do carry diseases to humans. You don’t want your cat to be jumping up on your preparation table and nibbling on the food,” she said.

For individuals who have unwanted objects laying around their yards, Mannix advised that they contact the National Solid Waste Management Authority for the removal of those objects. Overgrown vegetation is another way of harbouring unwanted pests.

Additionally, she remarked that the public should be mindful of children and animals when placing rat traps and other methods used to exterminate rodents as they can be extremely dangerous.

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