Tue | Nov 19, 2019

Port Antonio overrun by rats

Published:Saturday | January 12, 2019 | 12:00 AMGareth Davis Sr/Gleaner Writer

PORT ANTONIO, PORTLAND:

The resort town of Port Antonio, Portland, is being overrun by rats, which now poses a serious health risk to commercial businesses and residents, who are already being plagued by a dengue outbreak.

The rodent population, which has steadily increased in the Foreshore area, especially in the vicinity of the bus park, has triggered a response from the local health authority, which has issued a warning to residents to desist from disposing of or dumping garbage in that area.

Chief Medical Officer of Health for Portland Dr Sharon Lewis said that the rat infestation in the area is cause for concern and needs to be addressed immediately.

Lewis, who presented a report at the monthly sitting of the Portland Municipal Corporation on Thursday, said that the rodent population in the town was steadily increasing. Based on reports, rats and roaches are also visible throughout the day near the bus park and surrounding areas.

"The vector-control team has reported an increase in the rodent population in Port Antonio, based on their observation, as they go out to do their work as it relates to uncovering mosquito-breeding sites," Lewis said.

"We are appealing to the municipal corporation and the National Solid Waste Management Authority for support. There needs to be implementation of a rodent-control programme within our townships so as to prevent an outbreak of leptospirosis."

Outcry from vendors

There has been an outcry from vendors operating at the rear of the Musgrave Market in Port Antonio who have complained that large rats have been spotted, especially during the evenings, scurrying just about everywhere in search of food.

Environmental Health Officer for the parish Lorenzo Hume pointed out that a budget of $1.5 million for the implementation of a rodent- and vector-control programme had been submitted and was awaiting approval.

"We have increased our vector control as it relates to fogging," said Humes.

"We are focusing our activities in high-risk areas that have suspected cases of dengue, including schools, public areas of interest, ports, and other places of entry."