Home-alone newborn bitten by rats in Sha Tin village hut

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 September, 2007, 12:00am

A 24-day-old baby boy was bitten by rats in his bed yesterday morning after being left alone in a rodent- infested tin-sheeted hut on a grassy hillside in Sha Tin.

The baby, who has not yet been named, was taken to Prince of Wales Hospital after his mother found bleeding wounds on three toes of his left foot.

Ambulancemen estimated the infant had lost more than 30cc of blood. He was taken to the hospital for vaccinations against tetanus and rabies, and was discharged in the afternoon.

His mother reportedly left him on his own while she took her three-year-old daughter to kindergarten. She called an ambulance at about 11am after finding the bites.

The family of four had been living in the hut in Hung Mui Kuk village, Sha Tin, for several years. The father, Mr Chu, said the rat infestation had worsened recently after one of their neighbours moved out.

'The rats mostly appear at night and we can hear them walking on the tin-sheeted roof,' he said, adding some were 'as big as a cat'.

A Food and Environmental Hygiene Department pest control team installed cage traps and laid poisonous bait in the area yesterday.

A department spokesman said there had been no pest complaints from the area in the past three months. He added that nearly 30,000 rats were caught last year, 2,000 fewer than in 2005.

Lo Wing-lok, a former legislator and expert on infectious diseases, said the baby would remain under medical surveillance for two to three months and the bites would need to be regularly cleansed and redressed.

'But there is no big difference between a baby and a mature person when dealing with animal bites.'