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Where the rats roam in BrumRAT.

Byline: SPECIAL REPORT By Emma McKinney MAIL CORRESPONDENT

IT'S the Birmingham ward that's a real rat run.

For Washwood Heath has topped the Mail's league of shame for rodent alerts for the second time in 18 months.

New statistics revealed 1,678 ratrelated problems were reported to the council in the area in the two years to March - with 32,778 callouts across the city in the same period.

That figure was SIX TIMES higher than in Sutton Coldfield's Trinity ward, which was least troubled by rodents with just 279 reported problems.

Washwood Heath fared badly when the Mail last examined the issue, in July last year.

On that occasion, the area also racked up Birmingham's highest number of rat complaints - 3,051 alerts between January 2008 and December 2010.

Other problem areas in the latest Mail investigation included Soho, South Yardley, Bordesley Green, and Lozells and East Handsworth, which all had more than 1,000 rat alerts each.

The number of takeaway restaurants and tightly-packed housing were thought to account for the number of rats in Washwood Heath and the other inner-city areas.

More than 20 pest controllers work for Birmingham City Council, tackling a daily average of around 60 calls for help from householders and workers.

Pest control supervisor Steven Bragg said takeaways, restaurants, food firms and the public could do more to stop the problem by disposing of rubbish more responsibly.

"Some areas of the city are more badly affected than others because they're densely populated and prove popular foraging grounds for rats because of the extra food supply," he said.

"It's about being proactive as well as reactive.

"We want to educate people to realise that throwing takeaway leftovers on the pavement or leaving rubbish out days before it's due to be collected only encourages rats."

Mr Bragg said rats posed a serious risk to public health, with the vermin carrying all kinds of potentially fatal diseases, including bubonic plague, salmonella, rat bite fever, Weil's disease and murine typhus.

Olympic rowing champion Andy Holmes, who twice partnered Sir Steve Redgrave to gold medal glory, died suddenly in 2010 from suspected Weil's disease.

The 51-year-old was said to be in superb physical condition but became unwell after competing in a 26-mile sculling marathon in Lincolnshire.

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Oct 8, 2012
Words:379
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