Local perception of rodent-associated problems in Sahelian urban areas: a survey in Niamey, Niger
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- Garba, M., Kane, M., Gagare, S. et al. Urban Ecosyst (2014) 17: 573. doi:10.1007/s11252-013-0336-x
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Rodents are involved in the epidemiology of many pathogens and are major pests for agriculture. Local perception and beliefs about rodents and their damages is a key element of control programs. We here present the first survey focusing on the human perception of rodent-associated problems in an African town, namely Niamey, Niger. In total, 170 interviews were conducted in 18 different urban districts where rodents (Mastomys natalensis, Rattus rattus and Mus musculus) are widespread and abundant. Rodent-associated problems were mentioned in almost all instances (96.5 %). Eight different categories of rodent-induced nuisances could be recurrently identified. The most frequently cited one consists in damages on food and food stocks (63.1 %), followed by damages on houses (47.3 %), furniture (19.5 %) and clothes (16.8 %). There was no significant association between damages and districts, which means that the perception of rodent-associated problems did not vary significantly across the city. Our survey strongly suggests that rodents may represent major pests not only for farmers, but also for inhabitants of towns, thus contributing to reinforce economic vulnerability. Finally, no mention of sanitary or medical problems was ever recorded during our survey, thus pointing towards an apparent absence of knowledge about the potential role of rodents in some public health issues.