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Effect of chemical and sanitary intervention on rat sightings in urban communities of New Providence, the Bahamas

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  • A.M. Awoniyi
  • A. Thompson
  • L. Ferguson
  • M. Mckenzie
  • F.N. Souza
  • C.G. Zeppelini
  • F. Costa
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Article number495
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/04/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>SN Applied Sciences
Issue number4
Volume3
Number of pages6
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date24/03/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Rats are invasive pest species that commonly infest low-income urban environments. Their association with humans constitutes a threat of rodent-borne disease transmission. We evaluated the outcome of a chemical and sanitary intervention on rat sightings in seven low-income urban settlements of New Providence, the Bahamas. The intervention consisted of rodenticide application, education about environmental sanitation, and improvement in waste disposal. Rat sightings were systematically recorded by trained staff before and three months after the intervention. The intervention slightly decreased rat sightings, with an average of 2.7-fold with varied effectiveness across locations. Four out of seven locations (57%) registered a decrease in rat sightings. Our results suggest that social and environmental differences among communities may be responsible for the mixed efficacy observed in the current rodent management practice in urban communities of the Bahamas. However, a new set of control measures needs to be developed for areas where rodent decline was not observed. This study provides novel data on how rat population behaves post-intervention in a unique ecological setting like the Bahamas, presenting an informed judgment for their management, especially in the event of a natural disaster. © 2021, The Author(s).