In Maui, Hawaii, a stock clerk was sent to clean up a storeroom. It was filthy and he noticed dried mouse or rat droppings in some areas. A couple of days later, he called in sick with what he thought was the stomach flu — sore joints, headaches, vomiting. He went to bed and never got up! Within two days the clerk was severely ill and weak. His face and eyeballs turned yellow and his blood sugar plummeted. He was rushed to the emergency room where he suffered massive organ failure and died within hours.
A fast-acting virus in the dried rat/mouse droppings killed this young man. Once dry, the droppings disintegrate into a dust that can easily be breathed in or ingested if protective gear is not worn and if exposed skin is not thoroughly washed. The clerk was exposed while sweeping the storeroom.
It’s a cautionary tale for the rest of us. At some time between manufacture and consumption, canned and boxed food stuffs are stored in a warehouse. Warehouses and sometimes even supermarkets may harbor rats or mice, even those in upscale neighborhoods. Protect yourself and your family from possible infection by ALWAYS carefully washing off the tops of canned sodas or canned foods with soap and running water and wiping off pasta packaging, cereal boxes, etc.
If you can’t wash off a beverage can before drinking from it, use a straw. An investigation by the the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta discovered that the tops of soda cans can be encrusted with dried rat urine which is toxic and can be lethal. Canned drinks and other food stuffs may be infected by rat droppings or urine during storage in warehouses. They are rarely properly cleaned before being transported to retail outlets and plunked on the shelves to be purchased by unwary consumers.
Protect yourselves and your family. It takes but a moment to remove any potentially harmful residue from food packaging. You wouldn’t think of eating an apple from the market without washing it first. Remember that the next time you reach for a soda.
For information on pest control and management, visit the Stern Environmental Group website. If you’re a store or warehouse owner, call us if you think you might have a rodent problem. Make sure you do everything you can to protect your customers. Click the post title for information about our commercial pest control and pest management services. You — and your customers — will sleep well tonight when you get “Stern” with your pests.