3:16 p.m. update:
The City of Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma Public Health have issued a joint news release regarding rats in the community.
Sara MacInnis, Algoma Public Health inspector, told SooToday the rat issue is city-wide, with no particular area of the community worse than others.
What should you do if you find a rat on or near your property?
"People should call Algoma Public Health, and then we contact the City of Sault Ste. Marie, then the City has a pest control company they work with which will directly contact the person who has seen the rat."
Anyone bitten or scratched by a rat should seek medical attention immediately, though rabies is not one of the diseases spread by rats, MacInnis said.
"There is no increase of rats in our area..it's just that time of year when the rain is high in spring and summer, and the sewers where they usually live fill with water and they come up and you see them in the streets more often…they're looking for shelter and a food source."
A news release from Algoma Public Health follows:
Rat activity has been reported to Algoma Public Health in recent months in various neighbourhoods and locations throughout the city.
Mice and rats are carriers of disease, and can damage property.
Norway and house rats are believed to contribute to the spread of 40 diseases among humans, including the bubonic plague.
Other diseases rats can help spread are commonly attributed to foodborne illnesses.
For more information on diseases rats carry: http://www.cdc.gov/rodents/
By following these simple tips, you can reduce the chance of attracting rats to your property and into your home.
To make your property less appealing to rodents you can:
Seal any gaps under doors and cracks in the foundation of your home
Remove clutter around your house that can be cozy nesting sites
Cut tall grass and weeds back from your house
Secure garbage in containers with tight fitting lids
Eliminate water sources (i.e. leaky taps, sweating pipes and open drains)
Remove food sources (i.e. store bird feeders off the ground; and remove pet food from outside)
Call Algoma Public Health at 705-759-5286 to report rat activity on your residential property.
The City of Sault Ste. Marie has a contract with a pest control company who will then contact the home occupant to arrange a time to bait the property.