- The bursting of a rat in the Andalusian Parliament yesterday has highlighted the importance of not lowering our guard against possible plagues.
- The presence of this type of rodent on the public highway is a real public health problem, as they are important vectors for the transmission of serious diseases such as leptospirosis, hantavirus and toxoplasmosis, among others.
- The National Association of Environmental Health Companies (ANECPLA) warns of the importance of carrying out an exhaustive control of pests in general and rats in particular and points out the precariousness of the systems for contracting services as one of the main stumbling blocks on this path.
Madrid, 22 July 2021 - The surprising irruption of a rat in the middle of a session of the Andalusian Parliament has not ceased to occupy space on television news and entertainment programs, as well as many memes that have flooded social networks since yesterday. However, far from being an amusing anecdote, this event has brought to the table the importance of carrying out systematic maintenance work in terms of pest management.
Rats are vectors for the transmission of serious diseases such as leptospirosis, toxoplasmosis, and hantavirus, among many others. Nocturnal, rats tend to come out at dusk in search of food and water and shun contact with humans. "That is why", as Fernández de Lezeta explains, "when we see rats in broad daylight, as happened in the Andalusian Parliament yesterday, it is a clear and worrying sign, because when rats come out of their hiding places it is because they are looking for new areas to colonise in view of the saturation of the ones they come from, so we have to be very alert".
"Last year, during the early confinement of the State of Alarm following the coronavirus crisis, a multitude of these animals were sighted on public roads due to the absence of people on the streets and, above all, to the paralysis of pest management services in this exceptional situation. Now that this stage has passed, it is important that we do not let our guard down and that this type of control work continues to be carried out by specialised professionals, otherwise, the consequences can take a heavy toll," says Fernández de Lezeta,
On the other hand, as the general director of ANECPLA points out, "it is very worrying that the good practice that previously existed of rejecting those proposals presented by companies that involved a reckless reduction in prices is no longer being carried out. Not to mention", she adds, "those tenders that are directly carried out through an auction of low economic proposals without considering the technical aspects that are essential for a safe and efficient service".
ANECPLA denounces that these procedures for contracting environmental health and vector control services by public administrations have important consequences, both in terms of health and image for cities. It calls on local councils to take into account the technical requirements and the quality of the service since the health of citizens is at stake.
Prevention, always the best control tool
To deal with rat infestations in any space, as with any other type of pest, ANECPLA insists on prevention as the best measure to control their appearance.
The unsanitary conditions in which rats live make them one of the most dangerous pests due to the number of diseases they can transmit, such as leptospirosis, toxoplasmosis, or hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, among others. In view of this situation, ANECPLA is calling for appropriate prevention work to keep this species under control, as it is easy for it to become a plague due to its high opportunistic nature and its high reproductive capacity.
The general director of ANECPLA, Milagros Fernández de Lezeta, reminds us that "with prevention, we will avoid the appearance of these uncomfortable animals, with all that they imply. But we will also minimise costs, as it is not the same to act against a pest as to carry out maintenance work when the situation has stabilised".
ANECPLA also reminds us of the importance of hiring the services of specialised companies registered in the Official Register of Pesticide / Biocide Establishments and Services whose technical staff are officially trained as specialists and who use products registered and authorised by the spanish Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality.
10 tips from ANECPLA to avoid rat infestations
- Deposit waste in the rubbish bins, taking into account the established collection times.
- Before storing rubbish containers inside buildings, make sure that they are free of any pest species.
- Keep the rooms where the containers are deposited in good sanitary conditions.
- Repair any structural damage that allows rats to enter buildings (e.g. manholes, drains, etc.).
- Indoors, remove organic waste and avoid the accumulation of rubbish.
- Reduce the number of hard-to-reach spaces where rats can hide or take refuge, accumulation of boxes and packaging, etc.
- Eliminate weeds in gardens
- Empty pet food bowls regularly.
- In the event of rats being sighted on the public highway, notify the municipal services.
- And of course, call for professionals.