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Systematic surveillance tools to reduce rodent pests in disadvantaged urban areas can empower communities and improve public health

Systematic surveillance tools to reduce rodent pests in disadvantaged urban areas can empower communities and improve public health

Awoniyi, Adedayo Michael, Barreto, Ana Maria, Argibay, Hernan Dario, Santana, Juliet Oliveira, Palma, Fabiana Almerinda G., Riviere‑Cinnamond, Ana, Dobigny, Gauthier, Bertherat, Eric, Ferguson, Luther, Belmain, Steven R. ORCID: 0000-0002-5590-7545 and Costa, Federico (2024) Systematic surveillance tools to reduce rodent pests in disadvantaged urban areas can empower communities and improve public health. Scientific Reports, 13:4503. pp. 1-14. ISSN 2045-2322 (doi:

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Rodents are notorious pests, known for transmitting major public health diseases and causing agricultural and economic losses. The lack of site-specific and national standardised rodent surveillance in several disadvantaged communities has rendered interventions targeted towards rodent control as often ineffective. Here, by using the example from a pilot case-study in the Bahamas, we present a unique experience wherein, through multidisciplinary and community engagement, we simultaneously developed a standardised national surveillance protocol, and performed two parallel but integrated activities: (1) eight days of theoretical and practical training of selected participants; and (2) a three-month post-training pilot rodent surveillance in the urban community of Over-the-Hill, Nassau, The Bahamas. To account for social and environmental conditions influencing rodent proliferation in the Bahamas, we engaged selected influential community members through a semi-structured interview and gathered additional site-specific information using a modified Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) exterior and interior rodent evaluation form, along with other validated instruments such as tracking plates and snap trapping, to test and establish a standardised site-specific rodent surveillance protocol tailored for the Bahamas. Our engagement with community members highlighted poor disposal of animal and human food, irregular garbage collection, unapproved refuse storage, lack of accessible dumpsters, poor bulk waste management, ownership problems and structural deficiencies as major factors fuelling rodent proliferation in the study areas. Accordingly, results from our pilot survey using active rodent signs (that is, the presence of rodent runs, burrows, faecal material or gnawed material) as a proxy of rodent infestation in a generalized linear model confirmed that the variables earlier identified during the community engagement program as significantly correlated with rodent activities (and capturing) across the study areas. The successful implementation of the novel site-specific protocol by trained participants, along with the correlation of their findings with those recorded during the community engagement program, underscores its suitability and applicability in disadvantaged urban settings. This experience should serve as a reference for promoting a standardised protocol for monitoring rodent activities in many disadvantaged urban settings of the Global South, while also fostering a holistic understanding of rodent proliferation. Through this pilot case-study, we advocate for the feasibility of developing sustainable rodent control interventions that are acceptable to both local communities and public authorities, particularly through the involvement of a multidisciplinary team of professionals and community members.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: community engagement; sustainable rodent management; the Bahamas; urban rodent survey; waste management; zoonoses
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
Q Science > Q Science (General)
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Pest Behaviour Research Group
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2024 10:06

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