Rats and cockroaches roam Italian capital’s hospitals

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Photo: Jens Canon
16:34 CET+01:00
Some hospitals in Rome are undertaking rodent control at least once a month to rid their premises of rats and cockroaches.

The move follows a rise in the rat population in parts of the capital over recent months.

Four hospitals - San Camillo-Forlanini, Sant'Andrea, Santo Spirito, Fatabenefratelli and Grassi di Ostia – were named by Il Messaggero as having been "invaded" by rats, as well as cockroaches, with the vermin seen scurrying around “in gardens, basements, lifts and even outside some wards”.

Water snakes have also been seen next to the entrance of the mortuary at Grassi di Ostia, Michel Emi Maritato, the president of AssoTutela, an association that works to protect citizens’ rights, and a civic list mayoral candidate for Rome, told the newspaper.

“The list is long: the gardens of the Santo Spirito, along the river bank, are full of rats,” he added.

“The Fatebenefratelli, on Isola Tiberina, has the same problem. There is also the colony at [San Camillo]-Forlanini.”

Maritato said that despite reporting the issue at San Camillo and Sant’Andrea over the past two years, the situation has become “out of control”.

Rodent controls are carried out at San Camillo at least once a month, the hospital’s director general, Antonio d’Urso, said, adding that the inspections will intensify with the start of spring.

Rome's rats have been terrorising residents for years, even making the famous Trevi Fountain their home last summer as the monument underwent a makeover.

But despite an expensive clean-up in 2013, the rat population has swelled in parts of the city, outnumbering the human population by two to one.

The epidemic has become so bad in recent months that a commission, headed by Rome’s interim mayor Francesco Paolo Tronca, was set up to deal with the issue after previous anti-rat measures were ruled “ineffective”.

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Ama, the city’s waste collection firm, has carried out 1,200 rodent control operations since the start of the year, director general Daniele Fortini, said. But most of these have been undertaken in Rome’s Municipio I (Borough I) in the historic centre.

Some 1,700 interventions were made in parts of Rome between April and December 2015 – but only after rat sightings were reported by residents.

The commission has also mulled imposing heavy fines on those caught dumping their waste on the street.

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