Public Health & Pests

Almost 10% of children nationwide – and over 15% of Philadelphia’s school-age children are asthmatic. Asthma is a disease that causes the airways in the lungs to close up – it becomes very hard to breathe, and the patient may panic which can make attacks worse.

Bed bugs are making a comeback in apartment buildings, dorm rooms, hotels, hospitals, and homes. Why now? Both people and the things they buy are traveling greater distances more frequently, causing hitchhiking bed bugs to spread more rapidly.

Hanta virus causes a respiratory (lung) infection that is fatal in over a third of the cases (35%). It is spread by Deer mice and (in the Northeast) White-footed mice, who will often nest is remote, seasonal cabins, such as in the Poconos or Adirondacks.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection. It is transmitted in animal urine; exposure to rat urine has been blamed for some cases.

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected blacklegged ticks.

Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis virus, or LCMV, can cause several types of meningitis, particularly in pregnant women.

Many pests can transmit disease that they pick up as they travel trough their activities.

Rats, mice and many other pests can carry parasites, particularly worms. When pests contaminate our food their droppings can help spread the parasites

“Plague” refers to the various forms of disease caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis. It is carried by Oriental rat fleas which have become established in rodent populations in the Southwest United States, mostly ground hogs.

Rats do bite people – mostly sleeping infants, perhaps 10,000 times a year! - and mostly from families living below the poverty line. Rat bites are painful and can easily become infected.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is the most severe tick-borne rickettsial illness in the United States.

Microsoft PowerPoint, 2.1 MB

CDC Recommendations: Presented by Dion Lerman, Environmental Health Programs Specialist

Cockroaches, mice and rats carry salmonella in their bodies and shed it in their feces.

Spiders, along with daddylonglegs, ticks, mites, and scorpions, belong to the class Arachnida.

Many people (up to 3%) are allergic to the stings from bees, yellow jackets, wasps and other insects.

West Nile appeared in the US in 1999, and cases have now been reported from every one of the continental states except upper New England. It is rarely fatal – in fact 80% of people infected show no symptoms. However, in about ½% “develop severe illness.

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An Executive Summary of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Promoting Community IPM to Prevent Tick-Borne Diseases Conference