|MadSci Network: Environment & Ecology|
Hi Davey: You asked several questions that all have a common thread:” the transmission of disease”. Both rat and human feces are capable of transmitting a wide Varity of diseases. Such diseases as typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever, dysentery both amoebic and bacillary, salmonellosis,viruses such as polio, hepatitis, and the norwalk viruses can be spread by sewage. Infants can be infected by E Coli, a normal inhabitant of waste. For diseases to be transmitted you need an agent, the sewage, a vector or method of transmitting the microorganisms to the host, the individual. Common routes are contaminated food and water and contamination on hands. Rat feces can transmit murine typhus, tularemia, salmonellosis, weiles disease, also known as hemorrhagic jaundice. Dried rat fecees and urin,when inhaled,can cause alergic reactions in sensative people. In your example the sewage would contaminate the area, and both direct and indirect contact via insects and rodents could spread disease organisms to people. The mold and fungus would grow on the water damaged organic materials and the spores of the organisms could cause allergic reactions and serious lung diseases. One specific organism is staciabotrus. Testing for air born microorganisms and fungi is accomplished by using a device called an Anderson Sampler. Air is drawn through the device at a rate of 28 l/min 1 cfm. Inside is a plate with very tiny holes. On the other side of the plate a petri dish with media, commonly blood agar for bacterial and sabrous agar for mold and fungus.The microorganisms in the air impact on the agar and stick to it.The plates are incubated and any colonies that grow are identified. A sample of the outside air is taken as a control. The permeable materials contaminated by sewage should be removed and replaced.Impervious surfaces can be cleaned and disinfected. Hypochlorite is chlorine dissolved in water, also known as household bleach. The major hazards of this material are the fact that it is alkaline that is corrosive. It can damage skin and eyes.If large amounts of chlorine are released and inhaled, respiratory and eye irritation can occur.
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