Ho Chi Minh City health authorities have announced that the biggest rat raid to ever be carried out in the city will be complete by the end of December, after a man was recently infected hantavirus from being bitten by one of the rodents.
A statement sent out by the city Preventive Health Department on December 16 asked district authorities to set up rat traps with bait which is a mix of food and Flocuomafen, a highly toxic single feed anticoagulant rodenticide.
It asked districts to consider their financial and human resources to set up as many rat traps as possible in public areas, including food manufacturing factories, food warehouses, breeding farms, markets, train and bus stations, ports, residential areas, hospitals, schools, parks, restaurants, hotels and office buildings.
The rats are to be collected four days after the traps are set, and buried or otherwise disposed of within the day.
Work can be started at different days depending on the districts' situations, but must be finished by December 31, the department said.
Last month, Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases received a 55-year-old patient, identified only as T., who was infected with hantavirus.
Doctors had initially diagnosed him with dengue fever as he had high fever and skin rashes, but later tests at the Pasteur Institute in the city showed he had hantavirus.
The man, who was discharged two weeks later after recovering, said he had been bitten by a rat while sleeping at home, prompting the Pasteur Institute to test rats and house mice near his house.
All three samples that tested positive for hantavirus came from rats, the institute said.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hantavirus found in Asia can cause Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS), which is fatal 5-15 percent of the time.
People become infected through contact with hantavirus-infected rodents, their urine or droppings.
Vietnamese doctors said hantavirus infections are rare and cannot be spread from human to human.
But they said rats and mice also transmit other diseases such as bubonic plague and tetanus.
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