Sophia Chan (first row, right) with district councillors, inspect the rodent prevention and control work in Sham Shui Po, Kowloon. Photo: HK Government

The Hong Kong government is ready to provide more staff, equipment and additional funding for eliminating rats in Hong Kong after one man died and three were affected by rat hepatitis E virus.

Sophia Chan, the Secretary for the Food and Health Bureau, said the government had earmarked HK$91 million (US$11.6 million) for rodent control and prevention work, according to a government release.

Chan inspected the clean-up operation in Kowloon’s Sham Shui Po on Thursday. She said it was important to put an end to rat infestation at its source by eliminating their food and removing their homes.

Enforcement will be strengthened in dealing with restaurants dumping refuse in back lanes, she said. Public education and publicity over personal hygiene, environment and food hygiene should be emphasized, she added.

Meanwhile, 300 surveillance cameras will be added in black spots across the city for law enforcers to investigate the rodent situation and catch members of the public who place rubbish in back lanes, Ming Pao Daily reported.

The numbers of rodent infestations dropped over the past three years, but in reality, the rodent problem is getting serious and criticism over baits the hygiene department used was ineffective, Headline Daily reported.

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department used sweet potatoes to calculate rodent infestation, but some pest control expert suggested using BBQ pork as bait.

Lee Ming-wai, a pest control officer at the hygiene department, said the scent of sweet potatoes attracted rats and they can easily observe the traces of rodent bites on the sweet potatoes. Other baits, including meat, were not suitable.

However, front line officers would decide on the type of bait depending on the situation.

Read: One dead, two ill from rat hepatitis E in Hong Kong

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