RatAttack goes to Davao City barangay
(The Philippine Star) - October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Seeking to prevent an increase in leptospirosis cases in their community, residents of Barangay Centro San Juan in Agdao district, Davao City recently partnered with rodent control brand Racumin to educate themselves on how to prevent the potentially fatal disease — by getting rid of its main carriers: rats and mice.

Last year, Davao posted the highest number of leptospirosis cases in its entire history. Knowing this, barangay captain Rene Estorpe and residents of Centro San Juan worked together with Bayer CropScience, maker of Racumin anti-rodent products, and organized a RatAttack campaign in their area.

RatAttack is a community-based program campaign supported by Bayer CropScience to empower communities by teaching them how to eliminate the threat of rats and rodents in their midst.

The barangay council of Centro San Juan headed by Estorpe and representatives of the city health office were present in the RatAttack event.

Estorpe gave a talk about disease prevention, and told residents that educational programs and corporate responsibility activities like RatAttack are important for their community. The participants listened intently to the lectures and actively joined in the program.

Ongoing threat

From Aug. 9 to Sept. 16 this year, the Department of Health recorded 1,713 cases of leptos-pirosis in Metro Manila alone. Of this number, 116 people died from the disease.

Nationwide, the DOH recorded 3,410 cases of leptospirosis from Jan. 1 to Aug. 25 this year with 149 deaths.

Leptospirosis symptoms include fever, severe headache, red eyes, and muscle pain. It is caused by the bacterium leptospira, which is present in rat urine. When people wade through floodwaters contaminated by rat urine, they are at risk of leptospira infection.

Severe leptospirosis may harm the liver, kidneys, and the brain. In severe cases, symptoms may include jaundice, dark-colored urine, light stool, low urine output, and severe headache. Leptospirosis can be fatal if it is not treated promptly and properly.

Prevention is best

According to Mari-Gail Lasam-Cruz, marketing manager of Neumann & Mueller Philippines Inc., exclusive marketer and distributor of Racumin in the Philippines for the consumer sector, the RatAttack campaign is a partnership among Bayer CropScience, Filipino families, and their communities.

“We are here to protect Filipino families and communities from the threat of leptospirosis and other rat-borne diseases. Through RatAttack, we teach people how general cleanliness and the use of anti-rodent products can eliminate rat-borne illnesses. Prevention is still the best approach,” she said.

Participants of the Racumin event in Barangay Centro San Juan learned about the behavior and sleeping patterns of rats and mice. They also learned the different means to control the population of these pests. They received educational leaflets and samples of Racumin products so they could apply their learning as soon as possible.

Cleanliness

Since leptospirosis is spread through the waste of rats and rodents, it’s crucial to keep households and surroundings clean. Eliminating dirt and trash from the environment is the best way to avoid attracting rats, mice and other pests.

“Clean communities and homes attract no pests. We must properly dispose of junk that can become rat-hiding places. Be sure that food crumbs and spilled beverages are cleaned up. To the credit of its residents, Barangay Centro San Juan is already a very clean community. It even received the Cleanest and Greenest Purok Award during the Araw ng Barangay celebration last August,” said Bubbles Santos, operations manager of Neumann & Mueller.

“However, once rats have made their nest in the community, cleanliness is not enough. You must get rid of the rats using rat control products. This is why we worked closely with their community to solve their rat problem,” Santos added.

Not all equal

One rat control product is not as good as another. How would people know if a rat control product is effective? First, it must be the kind that can outsmart rats.

“Many don’t realize it, but rats and mice are among the most intelligent animals on the planet. They are good at detecting poison. They know when a certain bait is dangerous because they remember that it kills other rats,” Cruz said.

“Usually, the bait that rats learn to avoid is the ‘instant-kill’ type. This is because rats die shortly after consuming it. What happens is, the surviving rats see the bait’s effect and remember it. The next time the bait is used, the rats are already wise to it,” Cruz said.

Instant kill rat control products may look impressive in the beginning but over time, it loses its effectiveness once the smart rats learn to avoid it. This is known as “bait shyness.”

Slow but sure

On the other hand, rat control products with a “slow-kill” mechanism are more effective: they kill rats even in the long-term because the rats don’t develop bait shyness. Rats and mice that consume a slow-kill product don’t die right away at the site near the bait.

Rats and mice that consume the slow-kill bait die days later, when they are already far from the bait site. This tricks the rats and mice into believing that the bait is not dangerous — and they will keep on eating it.

“This long-term effect is the best advantage of slow-kill rat control products like Racumin. Rodents don’t become suspicious of Racumin and they keep consuming it,” Cruz said.

Options

Three types of slow-kill Racumin rat control products are available in the market: Racumin Tracking Powder, Racumin Ready-Made Bait, and Racumin Paste. Households can choose the product that best suits their needs.

Racumin Tracking Powder is placed in pathways where rats and mice pass. The powder sticks to their fur and when the rodents clean themselves (through licking their fur), they ingest the poison.

Racumin Ready-Made Bait is made from fragrant rice, which attracts rodents. Racumin Paste comes in easy-to-use sachets that can be conveniently placed in areas frequented by rodents.

Rats and mice that consume Racumin products die after two to three days far away from the bait site to prevent bait shyness.

The Racumin RatAttack campaign is organized by Bayer CropScience and Neumann & Mueller Philippines Inc., in partnership with selected communities. Racumin products are available in supermarkets nationwide.

BAIT BARANGAY CENTRO SAN JUAN BAYER CENTRO SAN JUAN CONTROL MICE PRODUCTS RACUMIN RAT RATS
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