Archive for the ‘Diseases caused by’ Category

Bedbugs With Drug-Resistant MRSA ‘Superbug’ Germ Found

ATLANTA — Hate insects? Afraid of germs? Researchers are reporting an alarming combination: bedbugs carrying a staph “superbug.” Canadian scientists detected drug-resistant staph bacteria in bedbugs from three hospital patients from a downtrodden Vancouver neighborhood.

Bedbugs Superbugs

Bedbugs have not been known to spread disease, and there’s no clear evidence that the five bedbugs found on the patients or their belongings had spread the MRSA germ they were carrying or a second less dangerous drug-resistant bacteria.

However, bedbugs can cause itching that can lead to excessive scratching. That can cause breaks in the skin that make people more susceptible to these germs, noted Dr. Marc Romney, one of the study’s authors.

The study is small and very preliminary. “But it’s an intriguing finding” that needs to be further researched, said Romney, medical microbiologist at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.

The hospital is the closest one to the poor Downtown Eastside neighborhood near the city’s waterfront. Romney said he and his colleagues did the research after seeing a simultaneous boom in bedbugs and MRSA cases from the neighborhood.

Five bedbugs were crushed and analyzed. MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, was found on three bugs. MRSA is resistant to several types of common antibiotics and can become deadly if it gets through the skin and into the bloodstream.

Two bugs had VRE, or vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium, a less dangerous form of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Both germs are often seen in hospitals, and experts have been far more worried about nurses and other health care workers spreading the bacteria than insects.

It’s not clear if the bacteria originated with the bedbugs or if the bugs picked it up from already infected people, Romney added.

The study was released Wednesday by Emerging Infectious Diseases, a publication of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Rats!

Remodeling in the East Bay

From dirt to doorknobs

It’s a rare attic or crawlspace where we see no evidence of these nasty critters. It seems like they climb, swim, dig, or chew their way into our houses no matter what we do. One homeowner complained of rats that ate the fruit out of their dining table centerpiece!

Rat raceway between insulation and subfloorRat raceway between insulation and subfloor

It’s bad enough that they get into our attics and crawlspaces, worse yet is what they leave behind. Proteins in their urine are potent allergens and become airborne when dry. Their urine and feces can contain hantavirus, a group of deadly virus that can be aerosolized and transmitted through air movement (more on hantavirus).

In the average house ducts leak at least 30%, and the building “shell” leaks at least 100% more than what’s required for adequate ventilation (data). If the leaky ducts run through the attic or crawlspace, they can directly vacuum up rat leavings and deliver it into each room of the house. If they don’t vacuum it up directly, they can depressurize the house, causing the house itself to suck it in through all the little holes and cracks between the attic or crawlspace and the house.

Rat urine on a water pipeRat urine on a water pipe

 In a typical building performance project that involves rodent infestation, we remove all contaminated materials and neutralize soiled surfaces. Then we reduce duct leakage and eliminate air infiltration between the attic or crawlspace and the living space. Even if the rats eventually get back in, the bad stuff stays in the attic or crawlspace, not in the bedrooms.

This unsealed, leaky duct plenum makes a handy toilet. Unfortunately, it is also pulling pollutants into the indoor air.This unsealed, leaky duct plenum makes a handy toilet. Unfortunately, it is also pulling pollutants into the indoor air.
 

Village of the Damaged

Those cute little creatures that share our living space here on earth are quite good at damaging our world in places not normally noticed. maybe its just their way of pay back.

 Pecking Creatures

In the pictures below, birds have been “pecking” out the latex sealant in many areas of the roof’s edge. The problem here is that water flows into the holes during one of our heavy Florida rains and is running down to the floor below and heavily damaging the walls.

This has been going on for many weeks, just as soon as the gaps are resealed, the birds return and peck out more holes.

 

Gnawing Creatures

This customer heard a gnawing sound in his attic, we checked out the attic and found a heavy rodent evidence but there was no signs of gnaw marks anywhere to be found. Gnaw marks can’t always be located but the customer was so adamant about the gnawing that we checked the roof. Bullseye!

 

THE VERY DESTRUCTIVE TYPE

 

 This is from my aunts house, she had a raccoon in her attic. The raccoon would walk along the wooden fence, hop onto the rain gutter and slip into the attic through the vent that the raccoon had ripped open.

And my personal favorite…

THE  WEIRD TYPE

A new customer called in with a rodent problem. We met the home owner and she described the usual rat observations until she mentioned that the curious little rodent was pulling the upholstery tacks out of the dinning room chairs.

 She said that each morning the little rascal would remove a few tacks out of the chairs.

The Evidence…..

 

Here is some rat trivia from Wiki

Did you know….A 2007 study found rats to possess metacognition, a mental ability previously only documented in humans and some primates.

Domestic rats differ from wild rats in many ways. They are calmer and less likely to bite; they can tolerate greater crowding; they breed earlier and produce more offspring; and their brains, livers, kidneys, adrenal glands, and hearts are smaller.

Rats are edible by humans and are sometimes captured and eaten in emergency situations. For some cultures, rats are considered a staple.

Ancient Romans did not generally differentiate between rats and mice, instead referring to the former as Mus Maximus (big mouse) and the latter as Mus Minimus (little mouse).

On the Isle of Man (a dependency of the British Crown) there is a taboo against the word “rat.” See Longtail (rat) for more information.

The Black Death is traditionally believed to have been caused by the micro-organism Yersinia pestis, carried by the Tropical Rat Flea (Xenopsylla cheopis) which preyed on Black Rat living in European cities during the epidemic outbreaks of the Middle Ages; these rats were used as transport hosts.

The normal lifespan of rats ranges from two to five years, and is typically three years.

 

Pest of the year winner: Chinch Bugs

Although we still have three months before the end of the year, I am going to have to go out on a limb and give the 2010 Pest of the Year Award in the Insect Division to none other than ‘The Nasty Rascal, the Chinch Bug!’ Since a few weeks ago when I wrote about my thriftiness, I was reminded of a few situations by family and friends that needed to be mentioned in my column.

Armyworms were bad this year; however, they are easy to see, easy to identify, and easy to kill. The chinch bug is about impossible to see (about the size of fine ground pepper), the damage can be confused between fungi, dry areas, and just dead areas, and although they are easy to kill once identified, the chinch bug keeps coming back.

I was riding through a neighborhood over the weekend and every St. Augustine grass lawn had some chinch bug damage. In the old days (Dursban, Diazinon), you could put out a product in May and pretty much control chinch bugs for the season. Now depending on the product, if you get two to three weeks of control you are lucky. Most of the products work on the adults and do not affect the eggs that are waiting to hatch.

There are a lot of cases of resistance to certain control products in Florida, so be sure to rotate chemical families of your products (not just product names). Since some of our sod comes up from Florida, we will most likely experience these resistant chinch bugs before long. If you talked to some of the people I talk to, you would swear they are already here.

‘The Nasty Rascal, The Chinch Bug’ got this designation from attacking family’s lawns during the summer while families were taking their summer vacation. The fact is that this very small insect and a lot of its buddies can wipe out a beautiful yard in a very short period of time. Hard to control weeds like bermudagrass and Virginia button weed always seem to move in on the weakened areas.

There is a fungus in the soil that controls chinch bugs. We had a wet winter, and then it got super dry. When it dried out the fungus in the soil that keeps chinch bugs in check died. When the fungus died, the chinch bugs went crazy. The reason you see chinch bugs along the road, driveway, sidewalks or in the sunniest part of the yard is because that is where the fungus dies out first. Chinch bugs rarely attack grass in the shade because the fungus keeps them in check.

Since chinch bugs attack the grass along the road, driveway, and sidewalks, when people treat for them, they often throw product on hard impermeable surfaces (roads, driveways, and sidewalks). Always be sure to sweep or blow any particles back into the grass to avoid any unwanted runoff. This particular runoff situation would be another reason to refer to this pest as ‘The Nasty Rascal, The Chinch Bug!’

Northern Manhattan Subway Riders Say Rats Abound

Fulton Street in Manhattan, June 2010.Marcus Yam/The New York Times The rats are downtown, too: Fulton Street in Manhattan in June.

Rodents, the traditional scourge of New York City, are having a rough year. The rise of the bedbug seems to have rendered rats a has-been pest, a mere nuisance to be ignored rather than read about in countless alarmist trend articles. The bedbug is a breakout media star; the rat is, well, still a rat.

But there is one realm where the rodent still rules, where rats play the stars of an underground theater with a captive audience in the millions. Where else but the subway?

Earlier this year, the city’s Board of Health, in what was called the first study of its kind, discovered that half the subway lines in Lower Manhattan exhibited signs of mild or severe infestation. At the time, many New Yorkers expressed a surprising fondness for the creatures.  Now, a new, slightly less scientific survey has found a similar rat takeover of 20 stations in Upper Manhattan, based on the observations of thousands of riders who say there is a “severe” rodent problem in the underground.

The Have You Seen a Rat Today? campaign, sponsored by State Senator Bill Perkins, a Democrat of Harlem, collected responses from about 5,000 New Yorkers who filled out surveys distributed by the senator’s office.

Because this type of survey is self-selecting, and because there was no way to verify the responses, the results of Mr. Perkins’s study (also see below) ought to be taken with a grain of rat poison. But the findings do seem to match up anecdotally with many New Yorkers’ experiences.

Nearly 9 in 10 respondents said they saw rats on a daily or weekly basis in the subway, with a majority of sightings on the tracks. (Far fewer rats appeared to make their way onto benches or into the trains themselves.) Only 1 percent of the respondents said they “never see rats.”

All 20 stations in Mr. Perkins’s district, the 30th, were cited. The worst offenders: the big 125th Street express stop at Saint Nicholas Avenue; the 145th Street station on the A, B, C and D lines; and the 163rd Street station in Washington Heights. Strangely, the new 96th Street station at Broadway was also cited, although perhaps all the recent construction sent rodents scurrying of late.

The point of the survey, Mr. Perkins said, was to prompt officials to examine new methods of attacking the rodent problem. He also proposed a ban on eating in the subway, similar to no-food policies used on transit systems in Chicago and Washington.

“What we know for sure is the rats are not growing the food they are eating, nor are they shopping at Whole Foods or McDonald’s,” Mr. Perkins said in an interview. He noted that discarded food and litter are the primary culprits that attract rats to the mass transit system: “If you feed ’em, you breed ’em.”

Mr. Perkins mailed his survey results to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Oct. 21, and he urged the agency to step up its eradication efforts. The agency has laid off station cleaners this year and acknowledged over the summer that it may not have the budget to pursue a more advanced attack against rodents.

“I know this is a challenging time for transit and for the M.T.A.,” Mr. Perkins wrote in his letter. “But rodents in the subway jeopardize the health of all those who travel and work underground.”

In the interview, Mr. Perkins emphasized the far-reaching effects of his cause.

“This system is so important to people,” he said. “It is an experience that determines significantly one’s daily life, not simply from a bread-and-butter go-to-work point of view, but from an emotional and psychic point of view.

“You’re on a subway and a rat is sitting next to you — that moment does not end for a while.”


“Worst Year For Rats”, Says Pest Control Company

Warm spring likely reason for outbreak

 By Tony Lofaro, The Ottawa Citizen  
 Those rats seen scurrying around Confederation Park are also invading homes and restaurants across the city, says an Ottawa pest control expert.

It’s not a full-fledged invasion but the rodents are rummaging through garbage and even entering improperly secured green bins, says David Saunders, owner of Paramount Pest Control.

“I can find rats … in many residential backyards all through Ottawa so it’s just not Confederation Park,” says Saunders, who has been in the pest control business for 21 years.

“People have this problem in their backyards, under their doorsteps and behind their garden sheds. When people feed birds and the bird seed falls to the ground it attracts a lot of rodents,” he says.

Saunders says his company has had its busiest year responding to rats and insect control calls. He suspects the outbreak is largely attributed to the warm spring the region experienced.

“This is the worst I’ve seen for rats in Ottawa, especially in residential areas,” he says.

National Capital Commission officials have resorted to calling in an exterminator to control rats spotted scurrying through Confederation Park, located at Elgin Street and Laurier Avenue, near the National Arts Centre and across the street from City Hall.

Eight poison-filled bait traps have been placed in the park. The traps read “rodenticide, do not touch.”

NCC spokesman Jean Wolff said this is the first time the Commission has experienced a rat problem at the downtown park. He said the traps seem to be working.

“The first indication is that we’re on the right track because in the last few weeks there has been fewer sightings of rats. But we hope to get the situation under control,” said Wolff.

The traps will be in place until the end of November, he said.

Wolff said he’s hoping the public will co-operate by properly disposing of trash in the park’s litter bins.

A warmer spring definitely led to a longer breeding season for the city’s rat population, says Saunders.

“Whenever you have a better food supply and a longer season all rodents and all insects tend to do better,” he says

Saunders says the region’s growing population and increased construction in the downtown core are also factors that contribute to more rats. He says rats are also getting into green bins because homeowners often forget to secure the lid.

“I don’t know how many customers’ homes I’ve gone to with a rat problem where they’ve got inside. If you can put your pinky finger in the bin then a rat is also able to pry his nose in and get inside,” he says.

Saunders says sloppy habits cause rat control problems. He says proper disposal of trash works.

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/Worst+year+rats+says+pest+control+company/3674780/story.html#ixzz12WUPYEvu

RAT RELATED HEALTH HAZARDS & DISEASES

Here is information on common diseases caused by rats, as gathered from the Center For Disease Control & Prevention http://www.cdc.gov

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS): Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a deadly disease transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings, or saliva. Humans can contract the disease when they breathe in aerosolized virus. HPS was first recognized in 1993 and has since been identified throughout the United States. Although rare, HPS is potentially deadly. Rodent control in and around the home remains the primary strategy for preventing hantavirus infection.

Murine Typhus: Murine typhus (caused by infection with R. typhi) occurs worldwide and is transmitted to humans by rat fleas. Flea-infested rats can be found throughout the year in humid tropical environments, but in temperate regions are most common during the warm summer months. Travelers who visit in rat-infested buildings and homes, especially in harbor or riverine environments, can be at risk for exposure to the agent of murine typhus.

Rat-bite fever (RBF): Rat-bite fever (RBF) is a systemic bacterial illness caused by Streptobacillus moniliformis that can be acquired through the bite or scratch of a rodent or the ingestion of food or water contaminated with rat feces.

Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium: As its name suggests, it causes a typhoid-like disease in mice. In humans S. Typhimurium does not cause as severe disease as S. Typhi, and is not normally fatal. The disease is characterized by diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and nausea, and generally lasts up to 7 days. Unfortunately, in immunocompromized people, that is the elderly, young, or people with depressed immune systems, Salmonella infections are often fatal if they are not treated with antibiotics.

Leptospirosis: Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. It is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. In humans it causes a wide range of symptoms, and some infected persons may have no symptoms at all. Symptoms of leptospirosis include high fever, severe headache, chills, muscle aches, and vomiting, and may include jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or a rash. If the disease is not treated, the patient could develop kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, and respiratory distress. In rare cases death occurs.

Eosinophilic Meningitis: Eosinophilic meningitis is an infection of the brain occurring in association with an increase in the number of eosinophils, white blood cells that are associated with infection with worms that penetrate into the body. The organism most commonly causing eosinophilic meningitis is a rat lung worm called angiostrongylus cantonensis.

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