Hong Kong health care and hospitals

Hong Kong’s rat problem can be tackled with accurate data and improvements in hygiene

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 October, 2018, 2:27am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 October, 2018, 2:51am

I refer to the article “Is Hong Kong’s rat problem far worse than first feared?” (September 29).

Walking along buildings in Mong Kok, one often observes small rats running quickly. It is high time the government, especially the Food and Health Bureau, dealt with the rat problem seriously.

First, the Bureau should reform the Rodent Infestation Index so that it reflects the situation on the ground. According to the department’s website: “The [rodent infestation] surveys adopt a scientific and objective method in assessing the degree of rodent infestation in the selected areas”. However, the rodent infestation rate for Sai Kung remained at zero in 2013, despite hundreds of reports of rodents in the district that year. This indicates the index is not accurate enough and is probably misleading.

Second, public awareness of how to cope with a rat problem is low, resulting in the pests spreading. Some citizens feed stray animals food waste, which is bad for hygiene in the area. The government should do its best to persuade people not to feed strays any more. The situation will improve if the government uses a two-pronged approach: education and reform.

Ken Yu Wai-yip, Tsuen Wan

Watch: Fighting Hong Kong’s rampant rat problem

Rats could be a public health crisis in the making

I am writing in response to your report that pest control experts believe the government has underestimated the number of rodents on the city’s streets. I don’t recall rats being a problem many years ago. But in recent years, I have started seeing rats near my estate, at restaurants and on the pavement.

I agree that Hong Kong’s rat problem could be worse than expected, especially considering the recent case that has taken the world by storm: a Hongkonger has become the world’s first person to contract a strain of hepatitis E virus previously only found in animals such as rats (“Rat Hepatitis E: a ‘wake-up call’ for Hong Kong”, September 28).

I don’t think this should be taken lightly, as it has serious implications for public health in the city. This could pave the way for a disease outbreak. I was very surprised by the fact that the case occurred in Hong Kong, not in developing countries – most people would imagine Hong Kong to be cleaner than those countries. It seems we should reassess how we perceive Hong Kong’s living environment and have more preventive measures in place to safeguard public health.

James Wong, Tseung Kwan O