Thousands of mice swarm in ‘worst plague in decades’ as hospital patients bitten

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Many in New South Wales, Australia are struggling with the worst mice infestation the state has seen in decades.

"Thousands and thousands" of the rodents are swarming farms after a bumper grain harvest, with farmers worried their hay will be destroyed well before the winter.

Three people have even been bitten by mice while they were being treated in regional hospitals.

A horrifying video posted to social media shows hordes of rodents at a farm in the town of Gilgranda.

"At night… the ground is just moving with thousands and thousands of mice just running around," farmer Ron Mckay told ABC.

A grocer in nearby Gulargambone said he's been catching between 400 and 500 mice every single night, and spending hours cleaning up the mess the following day.

Farmer Alan Brown from Wagga Wagga said the infestation is "an absolute plague in the northern half of the state" and could spread further into the country.

"They are causing serious problems now, with people getting bitten," he told Guardian Australia.

"Rats are at a nuisance level, but the mice are in plague proportions, particularly in the north and west and south-west of the state."

Mr Brown said a fellow farmer had lost between $200,000 (£110,700) and $300,000 (£167,500) worth of crops to the mice.

Meanwhile, NSW Health confirmed three people were bitten by mice while being treated at regional hospitals in Tottenham, Walgett and Gulargambone.

"Reports of residents or patients receiving minor bites have been made … and appropriate treatment has been provided," a spokesperson said.

Hospital staff are responding by baiting and trapping, using odour repellents and increasing the frequency of food waste removal, as well as blocking rodent access by improving seals around doors and windows.

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But local baiting programmes have so far made little headway against the infestation, and locals are hoping for heavy rain to drown the mice in their burrows.

One pair of mice can produce, on average, up to 500 offspring in a season.

The infestation is particularly troubling because farms across Australia are only now recovering from a drought that's lasted several years, and the hungry mice are ruining the hopes of any future harvest.

In February, Biblical news website Israel 365 suggested the nation's mice troubles could be a troubling sign from the heavens, one of a number of global catastrophes bearing some resemblance to the 10 Plagues of Egypt.

"This wave very much resembles the Biblical plague in this respect, coming as part of a wave of catastrophes that left the land of Egypt bereft of any food," a new article by Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz reads.

It goes on to explain how the plague that infested Egypt in the Bible has been interpreted as consisting only of locusts, but translations by Judaic authorities have understood the word "arov" to mean a mixture of wild animals.

  • Animals

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