A MOUSE that was found in the admissions office at Cork University Hospital last year gave a pest control company the slip by escaping from the facility in a healthcare worker’s handbag before making a break for freedom outside.
Pest control was called to CUH after the rodent was spotted by staff in the admissions area on April 17 last year.
It was located in a bin when the exterminators arrived, but quickly fled the room and scuttled elsewhere in the hospital.
A search ensued but there was no sign of the fugitive until an unwitting staff member who had left the hospital opened her handbag to discover the mouse inside.
It then made good its escape into the great outdoors.
Details of the incident were recorded in a pest control report released by CUH under the Freedom of Information Act.
The pest controller who was bested by the mouse surmised in her report that the crafty critter had also hitched a ride into the hospital in the first place.
“It is my opinion that the mouse may have been brought into the site from outside as no entry point could be located,” she wrote.
The encounter was among 79 callouts to the hospital by the pest control company between March and December last year in response to reported issues with mice, ants, silverfish, cockroaches, clover mites, and flies.
Exterminators were called to the hospital’s neo-natal unit on at least nine occasions during the same period.
These included reports of mouse activity in the ceilings of the neonatal intensive care unit (ICU) last October.
This was reported to be causing a problem with flies in the neo-natal unit, which was described by a staff member in a report as an “everyday occurrence” and “an infection control issue”.
The pest control company detected no sign of mice in the ceiling spaces but expressed concern that previous operators had left poison to combat the problem in an area where toxic baits should not be used.
Silverfish, wingless insects that thrive in damp conditions, were also found in the neonatal ICU, along with spiders, window flies, and midges.
In June, “bloodsuckers” or clover mites were reported in a hospital theatre by a staff member who was worried about contamination.
“This is an urgent callout as it’s a theatre and needs to be dealt with quickly,” they said, according to the report.
A significant number of ant infestations were reported during the period in areas including an eye clinic, a children’s ward, a surgical assessment room, a CT scanner room, and the admissions office.
A spokesperson for CUH said that the hospital had a comprehensive pest control contract in place, which is standard practice for a campus of its scale.
“The pest control contract provides for both planned monthly pest control checks of all clinical and non-clinical areas across the campus and an emergency callout service, if required,” she said.