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Cork hospital spends €30k on pest control after rodents were found in sink

Pest control companies attended the hospital more than 120 times last year.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/olivialazer

PEST CONTROL COMPANIES attended Cork University Hospital (CUH) more than 120 times last year to battle infestations of rodents in areas including a cancer ward and maternity unit.

The hospital spent over €30,000 on pest control as crawling insects were found in a neonatal respiratory room, a blood room and a wound-care unit. Rodent activity was detected in a sink in a chemotherapy suite, as well as in a tearoom in its oncology unit.

Silverfish, scaly insects that can feast on dead hair and skin, were a persistent problem in the maternity hospital at CUH, where pest control technicians were called at least nine times to deal with the critters.

The insects, which can grow up to an inch in length and live for three years, were found in a parenting room, bedrooms, a bathroom, corridor and changing room in the maternity unit.

Service reports compiled by two pest control companies contracted by the hospital reveal details of recurring invasions by a variety of species throughout the facility. The reports were released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Last December, rodent activity was reported in a sink on a cancer treatment ward. Two extra baits were laid in response to the discovery, according to the service report.

Three days earlier, mice were reported in a staff tearoom in the oncology department, while a residual insecticide was used during the same visit to tackle an infestation of ants in a bedroom on ward 18.

Bag of shells 

In August, pest controllers were called a number of times to deal with invasions of silverfish. In the maternity unit, they recommended that a shower drain in one of the rooms be “cleaned out and contents removed to prevent harbourage for pests”.

In the physio department, they carried out a spray treatment against silverfish in a female changing room, and noted that a “bag of sea sand/shells” had been removed as part of the treatment.

The insects were also spotted in a parenting room of the maternity unit last September, prompting technicians to treat wall-floor junctions with an insecticidal spray.

Meanwhile, ants appear to have invaded the hospital last summer. In June, they were spotted in a blood room, a neonatal respiratory room, and on the Ladybird Ward, which accommodates patients under 18 months of age.

The following month, ants were found in a staff toilet in the old nurses’ home, in a disabled toilet on a corridor near the dental hospital, and in the main hospital library.

Drain flies were an issue in a toilet located on the radiotherapy ward, where pest control technicians advised that the back of the toilet needed to be removed in order to identify the source of the problem “ASAP”.

A public relations company contracted by CUH did not avail of an opportunity to comment in relation to the pest control reports.

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Darragh McDonagh

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