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Discussion Starter #1
In case the title didn't give it away, I'm a little (well, a lot) P.O.'d about something. I'll elaborate, and maybe you can think of something to do.

Maybe you have heard of the USA-based company, "Orkin." They are a "pest-control" service, and, up until last night, I thought that they meant bugs. (All previous commercials have shown bugs to represent "pests.") But last night, I saw a new commercial, which FLAT OUTRIGHT LIES!

They had bugs, as per the usual, but they also added something to the beginning and end of the commercial. Same visual shot, and same words being spoken in the voice-over, both at the start and end of the commercial.

Orkin is, of course, trying to give you reasons to hire them.

The shot (used twice) in question shows two lovely, brown (colored) rats, not even as large as my Augustus, crawling around on top of an OPEN trash can full of goodies. The spoken words are, "Pests can carry disease," or at least, that's the upshot of it.

So, I saw this ad for the first time last night, and I'm talking to my TV:
"That's a bald-faced lie! This is not the truth! You can't advertise this!" (The TV had no comment at the time.)

OK, not that this is really my point, but first of all, ~anyone~ who leaves an OPEN trash can (no lid) full of "goodies" outside is bound to attract all kinds of "pests." If you're not smart enough to Put The Lid On, not only will rats and mice show up, but so will raccoons, possums, skunks, wild cats, and whomever else is roaming around that is interested in, well, a large container of "dinner."

#1. Put a lid, or better, a locking lid, on your outside trash can.

The BIG deal, though, is that they are lying! I've read a lot of books and internet articles, and had many conversations with vets, and everyone says that rats do not pass diseases on to humans!

There is ~one~ very rare disease that you can get from a rat, called "Rat Scratch Fever," but it's so rare that people don't even usually talk about it. (If you get it from a cat, it's called "cat scratch fever.") NOTHING else.

Just to make sure, I called up my vet today, to do a double-check. I told her that the rats in question were wild, not pets, and asked about diseases. She said that "rat diseases" stay in the "rat communities," and get passed from rat to rat. They do NOT carry rabies, or any of the other popular "mammal" illnesses. Everybody likes to bring up the Bubonic Plague, and blame it on the rats, but actually, again, the rats cannot transfer the Plague to humans. The plague was spread by fleas who lived on the rats, and then jumped onto the humans.

After a long discussion with my vet, who said, and I quote, "I've been in business for 21 years, and have never even heard of this kind of problem," we concluded that the worst that could possibly happen is that you might get bitten by a wild rat, and, if you didn't take care of the bite, you could get an infection. (Of course, the rat would prefer to run, and ANY bite should be checked out so it doesn't get infected.)

So...let's go back to our two brown "rat pests" crawling around in the garbage can. "Pests can spread disease."

2. WRONG. "Pests," like, say, mosquitos, can spread disease. However, RATS, which was what was being shown on the screen, can NOT spread disease to humans.

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Here is a worst-case scenario regarding Mr. and Mrs. "Pest Rat:"

Someone stupid leaves a garbage can full of food open, which the rats find. After awhile, they figure out that the food comes from the HOUSE - so they try to get into the house, to find more food. If they succeed in entering the house, and are in a cabinet when a human doesn't know it, the human might reach for something, and the rat might feel trapped, and bite.

That's all. That's it. The whole thing.

(Well, I suppose it could get worse...they could have babies. But this is not a problem...just trap them in a "humane" trap, and release the family out in a field, together.)

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Orkin is, more or less saying, "We have to kill these things because they're dangerous."

But the truth is, they're not. Are we killing dogs, cats, and other mammals because they might bite, and our bite might get infected? This is ridiculous!

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The last time I checked, it's ~illegal~ in the USA to make false claims in an ad.

I would like to sue Orkin for Slander, and Defamation of Character, but I can see where this is going; if I were a judge, I'd throw the case out, because ~only the rats being slandered~ can sue, and...I'm not one.

I DO intend to call a lot, and make a general "pest" (hee hee) of myself, but I doubt that I'll get anywhere. I'll wind up talking to people who have no power over the commercials.

So, I really don't know what to do. (If anyone else here wants to call Orkin and "bug" them along with me, I wouldn't mind. :) )

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If what Orkin is doing is legal, then it would also be legal for me to buy commercial air-time, and tell people how much weight they can lose eating only chocolate and potato chips!

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Friends, now that I'm mad, what do I do next?
 

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The only disease I've ever known of rats to carry to humans (besides the old school plague, heh) was Hantavirus (my neighbor growing up was the first person in the state to die of it. WOO!) and that is very, very rare.

But I think that you should make a fuss. ****, I'll make a fuss too. I've got nothing better to do with my time today, haha.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
As soon as I track down the right people to bother, I'll post the number here. :D

For now, I'm going with 1-888-ORKINMAN, but that's just their general line.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Just talked to an operator at "ORKINMAN," and even though it's after hours and they're only supposed to deal with medical emergencies, he spent awhile talking to me.

He asked what I saw on the commercial, and, as it turns out, he ~agrees~ with me. He said that he used to live in Florida, and a little mouse got into his work, and so he fed the mouse, which kind of became a "mascot." The operator's nickname was "Grizzly Adams."

We also talked about feeding the natural wildlife, which both he and I do, and he said that I should put some salt blocks around, for the outdoor "kids."

I'm sure that, if it were up to "Grizzly," the rats would be pulled from the commercial right now. As things stand, he's going to have someone get back to me tomorrow on it. (Hope I'm here to get the call!)

Updates as they happen.
 

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fear mongering and inter-species xenophobia.

you know, this doesn't make me angry. it makes me sad, that such "information" is being spread about by "authoritative sources", and that people simply DON'T THINK FOR THEMSELVES. growing up in the county, my family has had some bizzare infestations of "pests". live traps, citronella candles, and a vacuum cleaner are really all we needed- no poison. and certainly no orkin man. but people are afraid to try anything themselves. they're programmed to believe they need to pay an "expert".

*sigh* people are willing to believe just about anything they're told. i think what we're talking about here is misrepresentation, and it's not illegal. if they said, "PESTS can carry disease" while showing a rat picture, they're simply associating disease with rats in the mind of the consumer, which is more powerful, more insidious advertising, because the message is subconscious and the consumers don't even know they're being "taught" something. it's disturbing.

this is totally the kind of thing i, as a psychology student, want to study, and debunk, and shout my findings to the media-numbed consumers of the western hemisphere.
 

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Here is a list of diseases that rats and mice can transmit to humans:
Haantan Virus
Lymphocytic chorionmeningitis
Bubonic and pneumonic plaque
pneumocustis pneumonia
salmonellosis
rat bite fever (haverhill and sodoku)
I came from Baltimore and I know they had a "rat rub out" program. The city would pass out information on how to NOT create homes and food for rodents in your back yard. And after awhile if people didn't comply they would get fined. In Baltimore you would hear on the news how rats would chew on babies at night. People need to keep their houses and property clean and debris free. The pest control companies need to educate on the commercials. I use live traps for the mice that go into my chicken coop. Then I release them far from my house. They probably just come right back.
 

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Hmmm I'm a tad bit lost...Holly is sayin plagues cant be transfered, but freedomdove is sayin it can be...

I'm goin to talk to my vet tonite. see What she knows since she is a rat expert.

Holly, its nice to know Grizzly is on the rats side. I'll do my best with you to pry in and get in contact with the advertising agents and such and show outrage.

Because the connections between disease and rats must vanish!
 

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According to the Laboratory Animal Technologist manual: The risk of transmitting the disese is low. In people the bubonic is 60% faltal if left untreated and the pneumonic is 95% fatal if left untreated, this is for humans. This is transmitted form wild caught rodents.
 

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Bubonic plague is spread by the fleas that live on the rats, not by the rats themselves.
 

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This is from Wikipedia. Please read bolded.

The bubonic plague is mainly a disease in rodents and fleas. Infection in a human occurs when a person is bitten by a flea that has been infected by biting a rodent that has been infected by the bite of another infected flea. The bacteria multiply inside the flea, sticking together to form a plug that blocks its stomach and causes it to begin to starve. The flea then voraciously bites a host and continues to feed, even though it can not fulfill its hunger, and consequently the flea vomits blood tainted with the bacteria back into the bite wound. The bubonic plague bacterium then infects a new host, and the flea eventually dies from starvation. Any serious outbreak of plague is usually started by other disease outbreaks in rodents, or some other crash in the rodent population. During these outbreaks, infected fleas that have lost their normal hosts seek other sources of blood.

In 1894, two bacteriologists, Alexandre Yersin of France and Shibasaburo Kitasato of Japan, independently isolated the bacterium in Hong Kong responsible for the Third Pandemic. Though both investigators reported their findings, a series of confusing and contradictory statements by Kitasato eventually led to the acceptance of Yersin as the primary discoverer of the organism. Yersin named it Pasteurella pestis in honor of the Pasteur Institute, where he worked, but in 1967 it was moved to a new genus, renamed Yersinia pestis in honor of Yersin. Yersin also noted that rats were affected by plague not only during plague epidemics but also often preceding such epidemics in humans, and that plague was regarded by many locals as a disease of rats: villagers in China and India asserted that, when large numbers of rats were found dead, plague outbreaks in people soon followed.

In 1898, the French scientist Paul-Louis Simond (who had also come to China to battle the Third Pandemic) established the rat-flea vector that drives the disease. He had noted that persons who became ill did not have to be in close contact with each other to acquire the disease. In Yunnan, China, inhabitants would flee from their homes as soon as they saw dead rats, and on the island of Formosa (Taiwan), residents considered handling dead rats a risk for developing plague. These observations led him to suspect that the flea might be an intermediary factor in the transmission of plague, since people acquired plague only if they were in contact with recently dead rats, but not affected if they touched rats that had been dead for more than 24 hours. In a now classic experiment, Simond demonstrated how a healthy rat died of plague after infected fleas had jumped to it from a plague-dead rat.

In septicemic plague, there is bleeding into the skin and other organs, which creates black patches on the skin. There are bite-like bumps on the skin, commonly red and sometimes white in the center. Untreated septicemic plague is universally fatal, but early treatment with antibiotics reduces the mortality rate to between 4 and 15 percent.[1][2][3] People who die from this form of plague often die on the same day symptoms first appear.

The pneumonic plague infects the lungs, and with that infection comes the possibility of person-to-person transmission through respiratory droplets. The incubation period for pneumonic plague is usually between two and four days, but can be as little as a few hours. The initial symptoms, of headache, weakness, and coughing with hemoptysis, are indistinguishable from other respiratory illnesses. Without diagnosis and treatment, the infection can be fatal in one to six days; mortality in untreated cases is 50-90%.[4]
 

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Which means that a rodent bite wouldn't give it to a human... I'd assume.
 

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...the plague? seriously, who gets the plague nowadays? that sounds just a teensy bit paranoid- "orkin man, come kill all the rats, because i might get the plague!"
 

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in colorado wild prairie dogs were found to be carrying the plague and monkey pox as well only a few years ago. so yes, it still exists. it's unlikely that you would get bitten by a prairie dog, but the reason it was a problem was that some people's dogs would get out and catch a prairie dog and then get infected and bring the plague back home.
 

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oh yeah, i remember that, the thing with the prairie dogs. i had just been on a trip to the pike's peak area around that time, and a few weeks after i returned i came down with meningitis (scary.) and everyone at the hospital thought i might have something like that, from colorado. talk about panic and fear-mongering. it probably had nothing to do with prairie dogs, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The "biggie" diseases are Haantan, and "Rat Scratch Fever," which is the same thing as "Cat Scratch Fever." These, you can get directly from rats, BUT they are very, very rare.

Most of the rodent-related diseases require an "intermediary host." For instance, if a rat with the Plague bites you, you won't get the Plague. BUT, if a flea or tick bites an infected rat, and THEN bites you, you will get the Plague.

Unfortunately, in the days of the Plague, people were unaware of the concept of "quarrantine." If they would have quarrantined all of the plague sufferers, it would have cut down on the death toll immensely. When someone with the Plague died, all of the fleas would immediately look for a new host, and, since there was no quarrantine, the fleas would usually find a healthy host to infect. Were they in quarrantine, the only place that the infected fleas could go would be to other infected parties.

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Some of the things on the commercial really ~are~ dangerous; for instance, you can get West Nile Virus from a mosquito bite. But, after the research that I've done (and thanks for the links, BTW,) I don't believe that the rats belong in the commercial.

I went to their site, which included "Norway Rats," "Roof Rats," "House Mouse" and "Deer Mouse," and aside from Haanta (which is rare,) the biggest problem seems to be that they breed like...well, like rats. :)

The answer: humane traps. (Or, just be happy to have so many ratties around!)

I don't think I can "fight city hall" on this one, but I wanted to vent here about it. Thanks for listening.

I still say that anyone who doesn't cover their garbage cans outside can expect a lot more visitors than two cute brown rats. ;)
 

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I live in the middle if nowhere outside of Reno, NV. We have pack rats here. They are the cutest freakin animal I have ever seen. They look like a Disney caracter. Anyway. They make nests under the hoods of your vehicles. Even if you drive the car everyday. They chew the wires and fall out on the road as you drive. It's horrible. I was live trapping them also so now the population directly around my house is down. The guy that lived at my place before I bought it had, not joking, 10-15 broken down vehicles that were full of junk on the property. There was hundreds of packrats when I moved in. Thank goodness they have seasonal litters and only 4 pups as average. There was one that ived in my garage for awhile. I noticed that they dogs food was going pretty fast. So I flipped over one of the dog sofas and there was, no joke, about 70 pounds of dog food in the sofa. It was insane. Packrats are so soft that you can't even tell that you are petting them. They also do horribly in captivity. They wont eat. They are pretty nice.
 

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