The acceptability of rat trap use over pesticides for rodent control in two poor urban communities in South Africa

Journal Article


Journal Title

Environmental Health

Journal ISSN
Volume Title

BioMed Central Ltd


University of Cape Town

BACKGROUND: Rodent infestations are a public health problem in poor urban communities. The use of illegal street pesticides to control rodent infestations with resulting poisonings is an additional public health concern receiving limited attention in many developing countries, including South Africa. METHODS: Participants in a household intervention in two poor urban areas of Cape Town, South Africa, received two high quality rat traps. Reported in this article are the results of a follow-up survey conducted six months after distribution to assess community perceived acceptability of using rat traps instead of toxic pesticides (N=175). RESULTS: Of the 175 respondents that were followed up, 88% used the traps and only 35% continued using pesticides after the intervention. The analysis identified perceived effectiveness of the traps (prevalence odds ratio 18.00, 95% confidence interval 4.62 to 70.14), being male (prevalence odds ratio 8.86, 95% confidence interval 1.73 to 45.19), and the willingness to buy traps from an informal market (prevalence odds ratio 17.75, 95% confidence interval 4.22 to 74.57) as significantly associated with the acceptance of trap use. CONCLUSIONS: Rat traps, when introduced to poor urban communities, are acceptable as an alternative to toxic pesticides for rodent control. Sustainability of trap use, however, needs to be researched, especially cost and cost-benefit.