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Manchester Port Health Authority
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Pest Control Service

Manchester Port Health Authority is able to provide a pest control service to vessels berthing on the Manchester Ship Canal and to dockside premises. The service is offered at competitive rates for the treatment of rodent and insect infestations.

Pest Control at Ports

Pest control within ports is of major importance, as pests such as rats and mice are linked to the spread of international disease. The International Health Regulations 2005 and the Public Health (Ships) (Amendment) Regulations 2007, provide authorised port health authorities with the power to issue ship sanitation certificates to declare ships free from disease and the vectors of disease. The International Health Regulations 2005 make authorised ports responsible for the control of vectors that may constitute a public health risk.


Cockroaches can spread disease via their bodies and droppings. They can carry dysentery, gastro-enteritis, typhoid and food poisoning organisms which they spread when coming into contact with our food.

Cockroaches are able to breed rapidly. They are also highly resilient to treatment. Like rats, it is important that cockroaches are controlled on board ships in order to prevent the spread of disease.

Port Health Officers are authorised to request the Master of a ship to carry out control measures where there is evidence of cockroaches on board. Control measures may include trapping and the use of insecticide. As with rats, the removal of habitat and food sources may also be required in order to treat an infestation. However, cockroaches will eat a wide variety of food sources (including leather and other dead cockroaches) and have been known to go without food for periods.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are a public health pest, while they have not been shown to transmit diseases they do cause a variety of negative physical health, mental health and economic consequences. Some of these effects include;

  • Allergic reactions to their bites, these can range from minor reactions to anaphylaxis (severe, whole body reaction).
  • Secondary infections of the skin due to the bite, such as impetigo, eczema and lymphangitis.
  • Mental health impacts on people living in infested properties, these can include anxiety, insomnia and systemic reactions.


Rats and mice can transmit many diseases to humans such as Bubonic Plague Hantavirus and Weil’s disease. They are also able to transmit certain types of food poisoning such as Salmonella. Rodents may also pose a nuisance to humans through the contamination of food and damage to buildings and other structures due to gnawing and burrowing.

Rodent control both on board ships and within the port area is an important method by which the spread of international disease is prevented. All ships travelling internationally must demonstrate that they do not have rats on board by showing a valid Ship Sanitation Exemption Certificate (See Ship Sanitation Certificates).

Port health officers are authorised to request the master of a ship to carry out control measures where there is evidence of rats on board. Control measures may include: trapping, poisoning or fumigation of the ship. As rats require water, shelter and food to survive the elimination of harbourage and standing water may also be required.


Port Health Authorities are responsible under the International Health Regulations 2005 for establishing programmes for controlling vectors which may transport an infectious agent (hence constituting a public health risk) to a minimum distance of 400 metres from point of entry facilities e.g. docks (Annex 5).


Mosquitoes are found throughout the world, including the Arctic and many parts of the United Kingdom (UK). Their habitats include both rural and urban locations. Globally they are notorious for their biting habit and ability to transmit disease.

Disease transmission from mosquitoes is not only a risk in tropical countries; there is also a potential risk in the United Kingdom. In the 1850s there were well over 100,000 cases of malaria a year in the UK. However, the drainage of coastal marshes and improvement of rural housing removed the breeding and transmission potential. This made the transmission of the disease unsustainable. More recently there have been cases of airport malaria where malaria infected mosquitoes have escaped from flights arriving from the tropics and then gone on to bite local residents. There are many other mosquito borne viruses including Zika Virus, West Nile Virus and Yellow Fever.

Expected climate change in Britain is likely to affect the mosquito population, enabling rare mosquitoes to be rediscovered and new species to be introduced into the UK.

Port Mosquito Surveillance

Manchester Port Health Authority is taking part in a UK wide mosquito project in conjunction with the Health Protection Agency and Salford University. The aim of this project is to identify areas around the Manchester Ship Canal where mosquitoes are able to breed, and to identify what type of mosquitoes breed in these areas in order to better understand the risk of introduction of exotic mosquitoes and in the longer term to monitor changes in population.

Other ports taking part in this project include: Belfast City Airport, Belfast International Airport, Belfast Port, Bristol Port, Felixstowe Port, Gatwick Airport, Heathrow Airport, Hull Port, Liverpool Port, Manchester Airport and Southampton Port.

Port Health Officers from Manchester Port Health Authority have actively surveyed the Manchester Ship Canal in attempt to identify the type and number of aquatic habitats that exist. Known habitats are sampled on a weekly basis during the mosquito breeding season for mosquito larvae.

Once sampled, the larvae are then incubated and allowed to change into adult mosquitoes. These mosquitoes are then sent for identification as part of the programme. All of the information received is correlated by the Public Health England for national overview.