Plague of rats hits Nicaragua
Hordes of scavenging rodents have already worked their way through vast areas of crop land in the north-east of the country, much of which was destroyed by the hurricane nearly a year ago. Up to 95 per cent of the region's food supplies, including staple goods such as beans and rice, have been devoured by the rats, leaving thousands of families dependent on emergency aid.
But it is the threat of deadly disease that is even more worrying to the authorities and aid agencies. The immediate risk to people in as many as 20 towns and villages is the spread of leptospirosis - a highly unpleasant, and potentially fatal, disease caused by rats urinating in domestic water supplies. The symptoms of the disease are often confused with those of 'flu or meningitis.
Nicaraguan authorities yesterday declared a state of national alert, but the country's ill-resourced medical services - still struggling to cope in the aftermath of the hurricane - would be hard-pressed to deal with another medical disaster, say aid workers.
The plague is being blamed partly on el Nino, the weather system that caused drought and bush fires, killing off many animals that prey on rats. Hurricane Mitch then tore through the region, leaving thousands of dead creatures for the rats to feed on.
- 1 Autistic adults could take pure MDMA to 'reduce social anxiety'
- 2 Stolen Instagram photo sells for $90,000
- 3 Before you complain about your GP, this is what you need to know about actually doing the job
- 4 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: not a Mexican demon being summoned — it's gravity
- 5 Paracetamol Challenge: Mother of girl killed by overdose pleads with teenagers not to take part
Iran launches anti-Isis cartoon competition 'to expose true nature of Islamic State'
'Don't blame all men for rape' campaign backfires spectacularly
Fifa corruption arrests: How Chuck Blazer rinsed money from the beautiful game
Fifa corruption live: Uefa to consider pulling teams from Fifa tournaments if Blatter stays
Ukip MP Douglas Carswell says he felt his safety was 'seriously at risk' after he was surrounded by anti-austerity protesters
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...
£30000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Estimating, preparation of tech...
£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will work as part of a smal...
£16000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The ideal candidate will want t...