Dr Mutiu Oladele-Bukola of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, on Thursday warned people against the use of rat poisons to kill mice.
Rodents causing Lassa fever Oladele-Bukola, a veterinary doctor, who gave the advice in an interview in Ibadan, said that people should refrain from using rat poisons so as to prevent the contamination of food items in their homes.
He said that the mice which ate the poison could contaminate other food items in the home, thereby making them dangerous for human consumption. “As rats move from one place to the other, they carry these poisons in their mouth and even their body; they contaminate food and water meant for other animals and man.
“Besides, the dead mouse could decompose at an obscure corner and start smelling, thus making the environment uncomfortable for living, while becoming a breeding place for infection.
“This is very dangerous to both animals and human because if such contaminated foods are consumed, they can cause ill-health or even death of the consumer,” he said. Oladele-Bukola stressed that the use of traps was a good means of getting rid of rats.
“Traps are devices used for catching rats alive or dead; the process is facilitated by the use of baits such as peanuts, butter and cheese. “However, the effectiveness of any rat bait depends on the environment and the habit of the rats in question.
“Rats are scavengers and the most effective bait is food. Instead of using rat poison at home and on the farm, metal rat trap boxes or rat gum, containing smoked fish or meat as baits, can be used.
“The traps should be placed at strategic locations within the house to catch the mice alive or dead. “This can prevent the rats from dying around and messing up the environment,” he said.
Besides, Oladele-Bukola warned that dead rats must not be thrown around the surroundings of the house, adding that they should be buried so as to prevent the emission of foul smell and the transmission of diseases. He said that mice could easily occupy people’s homes and start breeding if the rodents found food sources and convenient shelter where they could feel safe.
“We should make sure that our environment is cleared of bushes and refuse; buildings should be also fenced round with wire netting so as to make them rat-proof,” he added. (NAN)