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 Rats pose new health threat in Zim towns

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PosOnderwerp: Rats pose new health threat in Zim towns   Fri May 07, 2010 9:30 pm



FANUEL JONGWE | HARARE, ZIMBABWE - May 07 2010 07:55
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A stray cat paws through a heap of refuse between blocks of flats in Harare's upmarket Avenues area, sending rats squealing and scurrying for cover among the rubbish.

Across the road, cars take turns to skirt a swelling mound of garbage nearly blocking one of the two lanes.

Informal dumpsites have become a familiar sight in sections of Harare where residents are resorting to emptying bins in open spaces as the municipal authorities fail to collect refuse, causing residents to fear disease outbreaks.

The ubiquitous heaps are breeding grounds for rats and mice, posing a health threat as the rodents sometimes find their way into homes.

Combined Harare Residents' Association has warned of possible disease outbreak if the refuse problem is not addressed.

"In areas such as Mabvuku, residents say refuse was last collected in February 2009," the association said in statement, referring to a township in eastern Harare where five people died in a typhoid outbreak in February which affected scores of residents.

"The piles of refuse have provided conducive breeding grounds for mosquitoes and rats and residents fear for their health."

Rats can spread diseases through droppings, some of which could be life threatening, including salmonella, diarrhea, vomiting and fever.

Humans can also contract ratbite fever from a rat.
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