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Group cautions on use of rat poisons as rodent control measure


LASSAIN the wake of Lassa fever outbreaks, the Pest Control Association of Nigeria (PECAN) has called on Nigerians to be very cautious on using rodenticides (rat poisons) as the only rodents control measure in their buildings and vicinity.

The group alleges that some Nigerians may have rushed to procure rodenticides, which are brazenly displayed on roadsides and shops by quacks as the fears of Lassa fever epidemic spread across the country.

Speaking to media personnel in Lagos, last week, PECAN president, Ayo Ogunyadeka said that active rodent control is best conducted using an Integrated Pest Management Approach (IPM) or long term sustainable system of control that includes both chemical and non-chemical methods.

He disclosed that rodenticides are pesticides that kill rodents. “Rodents include not only rats and mice, but also squirrels, porcupines, grass-cutters etc. All rodenticides can be toxic when eaten. Most rodenticides are also toxic when inhaled and when they come into contact with skin.

“Rodents, humans, dogs and cats are all mammals, so our bodies work in very similar ways. Rodenticides have the same deadly effect when ingested by mammals – which include human beings – especially children and wards, and pets, such as cats, dogs, monkeys etc.  Other domestic animals such as birds and poultry may be exposed to high secondary rodenticides poisoning.”

Ogunyadeka urged Nigerians to patronize pest control practitioners and adhere strictly to the instructions on labels of any rodenticides carefully as well as advised households to inspect incoming materials for rodent excreta or any signs of gnawing and chewing on the containers as mice can nest inside pallets of goods received.

“Ensure good structural integrity and barriers. Avoid holes in the building and in homes, proof doors with brush strips (gap of less than 10mm can allow entrance of mice), wire mesh over windows and ventilator grilles should be in place, trap drains (rats).

“The immediate surrounds of the home perimeter should be clear of overgrown vegetation, rubbish, disused equipment and pallets, as these can offer potential harbourage sites. Refuse containment and disposal is extremely important; spillages and over-filling should be avoided.”

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