London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Chigwell 1937

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Chigwell]

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Rats and Mice (Destruction) Act, 1919.
A great deal of time has been devoted to the destruction of rats
during the year with a varying amount of success. It is very difficult
to deal with rats when they are reported as "overrunning" premises
when on visiting no holes can be discovered. In this district where
there is still a great deal of building going on and also as a large
proportion of the district is forest and farm land frequently it is found
that rats appear to have a " visiting list " without having a permanent
abode near the places where they obtain food. This food is usually
thrown out for birds and a rat was actually seen to catch a bird and
drag it off from the lawn on which the bird was feeding, the rat
presumably preferring the bird to the other food.
The methods used for the destruction of rats in this district are : —
1. Gassing by means of a Cyano Gas Pump.
2. Baiting with Red Squill bait.
The first method is very successful when the rats are "at home"
and in one instance when the machine was used in farm buildings 18
full grown rats were found dead, huddled together in a small space,
when wall boards were removed. It is interesting to note that the
younger the rats are the less the gas appears to effect them though it is
deadly to the full grown rodent.
Baiting is not as successful as it ought to be owing apparently to
the rats having access to food. Where it is possible to ensure that rats
are unable to get anything else to eat the red squill bait has been the
means of clearing them away.
Special efforts were made during Rat Week from 1st to 6th
November, 1937. Posters were exhibited at prominent places in the
district and a slide was shown at the Loughton Cinema.
Refuse dumps have been under careful observation throughout
the year and in one hunt arranged at the refuse dump at Buckhurst
Hill about 30 rats were destroyed. The firm owning this dump also
possess a Cyano Gas Pump and take regular and active measures to
destroy rats.
The Council's sewage works and sewers are fairly free and no
undue increase of signs of rat infestation have been noticed.
Rat bait has been supplied free to residents on application at the
Council Offices.
Number of visits—449.
(iv) Smoke Abatement—No action taken.
4. Schools—
The sanitary conditions and water supply continue to be