With the ongoing COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, many people have been calling Jim’s Pest Control and asking if pests can transmit the virus.
Lynton Paddick, the Divisional Manager for Jim’s Pest Control has stated:
“It is too early to know if pests can transmit COVID-19. However, it is well known that mosquitoes, cockroaches, and rats can help spread viruses. Because these pests are mobile, they can aid in the spread of other known viruses and infectious diseases.”
Pests have a history of transmitting viruses
In all states of Australia, it has been well documented on how some pests can transmit viruses to humans.
Professor Philip Weinstein from the University of Adelaide states, “Ross River Virus has been thought to be restricted largely to Australia and Papua New Guinea where it is harboured by marsupial animals, specifically kangaroos and wallabies, and is spread by mosquitoes”
The NSW Government Health Department states that “Some types of mosquitoes can transmit viruses such as Ross River and Barmah Forrest. Some parts on Northern Queensland have a type of mosquito that can transmit Dengue Fever, Chikungunya and Zika infections”
The South Australian Health department has documented the diseases that pigeons carry, stating that they transmit diseases such as Histoplasmosis, Cryptococcosis and Psittacosis.”
On July 9th 2019, news.com.au reported that two dogs had caught Leptospirosis of rats in Surry Hills, a suburb of Sydney. This is known to be able to be transmitted to humans.
Most states and territories in Australia will release public health warnings regarding viruses and diseases that pests carry.
How would it be possible for COVID-19 Coronavirus to be spread by pests?
It has been documented that COVID-19 is typically spread by someone coming in direct contact with an infected person. People can also catch it from touching an infected surface that someone has touched, or simply sneezed on.
Some examples of surfaces include handrails, seats, benchtops, tables, shopping trolleys, etc.
According the World Health Organisation, COVID-19 survives on surfaces. Studies have suggested that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours, or up to several days.
Now, consider that pests will frequent these places as well. How many times have you been eating outside and seen a bird walk across a table, feeding on discarded food?
They can quite easily walk across an infected surface, get the virus on their feet and fly off. When they land, could cross contaminate other surfaces?
Cockroaches are even worse as they can be in significant numbers and mainly emerge at night, mostly unseen.
Is it likely that a pest technician can spread the virus?
Mr Paddick said:
"It is extremely unlikely that a pest control technician can spread a virus during a treatment in a home or commercial premises. The reason for this is that on all treatments, pest technicians are required to wear PPE (personal protection equipment)."
PPE, like disposable gloves, creates a barrier between the pest technician’s hands and any surfaces they may come into contact with.
On all treatments, professional pest technicians are required to wear respirators and, in most instances, safety glasses and overalls. This again will minimise the possibility of any bio-hazard transfer. These measures not only protect the client, but protect the technician as well.
Ask your pest technician to wear their PPE
Because Jim’s Pest Control technicians are fully equipped with the correct PPE, you can always ask them to wear it, for your protection and theirs, even when simply quoting on your job.
If the pest control company that you are using sends technicians who are not equipped with the correct PPE, you can always ask them to come back later when they are suitably equipped.
Recommended to remove pests out of the equation
It is still early days regarding COVID-19 Coronavirus and how it is being spread so quickly. Further, there is not enough clear evidence to say categorically that pests cannot transmit the virus.
However, considering other viruses and diseases can be spread by pests, it is certainly possible.
The Governor General of Australia declared on Wednesday March 18, 2020 a “Biosecurity State of Emergency” under the Biosecurity Act.
The ACT details the management of diseases and pests that may cause harm to human, animal or plant health or the environment.
In conclusion, Mr Paddick recommends that “You should continue having you pests treated and eliminated. It is better to err on the side of caution, and reduce all possible avenues for this virus to be transmitted.”
If you have any questions about how you can reduce the numbers of potential disease carrying pests around residential or commercial properties, please get in touch with a professional pest control company ASAP.
Jim’s Termite & Pest Control
Jim’s Pest Control has been servicing clients across Australia since 2010. There are currently 85 plus local business owners delivering all pest control services across Australia. On average Jim’s provides pest control services to 2,500 clients weekly.
Lynton Paddick has 30 plus years dealing with pests. He, with his wife Stephanie, currently assist 34 plus local business owners in New South Wales and South Australia.
He has honed his pest control skills from working with some of the leading experts in the industry.
Industry experts and suppliers recognise that Lynton and Stephanie’s efforts are changing the industry for the better.