Rats have made their way from the sewers into the streets, hospitals, shops, and houses in Peshawar. People are worried because estimates suggest that these rodents have bitten as many as 3,000 people this year alone.
We received more than 300 cases of rat bites in November, a spokesperson of Lady Reading Hospital told SAMAA TV. People come here to get vaccinated after the rat bites, he said, adding that the bites aren’t specific to any age but children under 14 years seem to be more susceptible to them than others.
The most number of cases have been reported on Khushal Road. Nine members of one family have been bitten by rats this past year. One four-year-old child has been bitten twice.
“All my sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren have been bitten by rats,” said a woman resident of Khushal Road. No one bothers to clean the area and if you look around, you will see that there is garbage everywhere, she added.
The city government and district administration have failed to launch any major programmes to clean certain areas or devise a plan to get rid of the rat problem. A representative of the Water and Sanitation Services Peshawar said that they have devised a plan to catch the rodents and focus on cleaning different areas.
Ajmal Wazir, the spokesperson of the province’s chief minister, said WSSP has taken action to combat the problem. Directions have been issued to them and they have been instructed to conduct inspection as well, he said.
People in different localities have started picking up trash in order to fight the growing problem.
Samar Bilour, an ANP MPA, criticised the government for failing to solve the problem and not including opposition members in development schemes.
The figures of the Lady Reading Hospital reveal that the highest number of rat bite cases were reported in June and since then there has been a steady decline. The least number of cases was reported in October.
The table below shows the number of people who came to seek treatment for rat bites this year.
|Month||Number of cases|
Why we should worry about rat bites
Rats and mice spread more than 35 diseases. These diseases can spread to humans directly, by holding rodents, or through contact with rodent faeces, saliva or urine, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Following a rat bite, a person may be diagnosed with rat bite fever, which causes a rash, joint pain and swelling. This disease may also cause infections in the liver, kidneys, lungs, brain and heart, according to the CDC.
To avoid catching diseases from rodents, the CDC recommends people wash their hands immediately after touching them.
The disease control department says that pregnant women, children under age five, or people with weak immune systems are at a higher risk of contracting serious illnesses from rodents.