The Health District has been tracking complaints of rodents in urban areas since 2003. During this time we have set live capture traps at over 300 homes from 35 zip codes and trapped nearly 200 Rattus rattus (roof rats) and several desert wood rats. These animals were combed them for fleas, and blood samples were collected for plague and hantavirus testing; all results were negative.
The rats thrive in our environment due to the lush vegetative ‘housing’ (palms, cypress), year round fresh water (swimming pools & irrigation) and abundant food sources (fruit from trees, dog food, etc). Compounding the issue is there are few natural predators for the animals. Eradicating the established rodent population is not possible; the idea is to minimize factors leading to their spread through an integrated pest management approach.
Extermination of rodents on private property is the responsibility of property owners. The health district does not offer rodent control or extermination services.
Rodent control is a community wide effort. If every property owner completed the Rodent Control ChecklistPDF (222 KB/5 pages) the population of urban rodents in Southern Nevada would decrease.
To learn more about rodents and how to prevent infestations, visit the Rodent Pests webpage.
If you believe you have a rat infestation, contact your local pest control company.
Visit the plague and hantavirus webpages to learn more about symptoms, treatment and prevention of these rodent-borne diseases.
When there is human bite exposure, suspect animal specimens from the animal control agencies are submitted to labs for analysis.
When found positive for rabies, the case is further investigated by office of epidemiology staff with recommendations to those exposed and to treating practitioners.
Baylisascaris procyonis is a parasitic organism common to raccoons and transmittable to humans through ingestion of contaminated soil, water, or on objects that have been contaminated with raccoon feces.
In 2004, two of the 16 specimens collected tested positive for Baylisascaris procyonis.