Woman bitten by rat in Central alley

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 May, 2010, 12:00am

It was a case of the Central Rat Race minus the costumes and laughs yesterday afternoon when a rat nipped a Briton's ankle and scurried away, leaving the woman in tears.

The woman, wearing flip-flops, was bitten at 1.15pm while waiting for a friend who was visiting a cobbler in an alley in Pedder Street near a Central MTR exit.

The 34-year-old screamed and ran away when she realised she had been bitten. Her two friends suspected a rat and called police.

A police spokesman said: 'She felt she had been stung in the left leg. She then found blood on her left ankle and discovered a rat and ran.'

The woman sat on the ground crying, said a stallholder .

The woman was discharged from Queen Mary Hospital, Pok Fu Lam, two hours after the incident.

'Rats are commonplace in this alley because the MTR station's rubbish collection is right here,' said the stallholder, who has been there for more than 50 years. 'But it's the first time I have seen someone bitten.'

A woman who operates a clothing store beside the cobbler's saw the rat scare another woman soon after the incident, but escape unhurt.

The cobbler then killed the rat with a broom, she said.

Former legislator Lo Wing-lok, an expert on infectious diseases, said: 'Anyone bitten by a rat should have the wound washed with water or cleaned with disinfectant before going to see a doctor, who will decide whether vaccinations against tetanus, or antibiotics, are needed.'

The rodent infestation rate - determined by the ratio of bait taken - was 6.1 per cent last year, down from 6.3 per cent in 2008. The figure for Central and Western District was 4.7 per cent last year. The highest was 12.4 per cent in Kwun Tong.

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department says about 31,900 rats were caught last year, up from 29,400 in 2008. The department filled about 9,300 ratholes across the city last year, up from 8,000 in 2008.

A spokeswoman said it was important to eliminate food sources for rodents and the public should cover and store food properly.

The spokeswoman said it had caught 226 live rats and collected 539 dead in the district in the first four months of the year. It also said the site in the case was not a rodent-infestation black spot and no complaints about rats at the site had been received in the past 12 months.

Meanwhile, a snake bit a 48-year-old woman on her right hand in Sam Mun Tsai village, Tai Po, at about 8.30am. She was treated at Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital.