MOUSE bites have been reported in numerous NSW Central West hospitals, and former New England MP Tony Windsor wants the state and federal governments to step up.
The mice plague has been impacting the Tamworth area recently, but it's nothing compared to what's happening out west, Mr Windsor said.
NSW Health has confirmed that three patients at hospitals in Walgett, Tottenham, and Gulargambone were all bitten by the rodents recently.
Mr Windsor said it was time the state and federal governments did something to deal with the ever-worsening situation.
"The health minister should recognise it as a health problem as well as an agricultural one," he said.
"They have to take the lead on putting in appropriate control measures, otherwise it's going to get worse and worse and not only does it have financial ramifications for the farming sector, it also has ramifications for the health sector.
"It's just being left up to individuals to deal with what comes into their house, but they're losing the battle."
He said residents in areas like Coonamble were dealing with "rotting mice and urine and faeces and just general stench".
"I've heard reports that at least one of the aged care places [in the Central West] are having trouble with mice," he told the Leader.
"You can't blame them because there's mice everywhere.
"It's not just about people who live on farm land, it's anyone who lives in town or goes to the hospital."
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In Tamworth, pest controllers have been run off their feet trying to eradicate the pests from homes and businesses, mouse traps and baits are flying off shelves, and pets are being poisoned after accidentally consuming baited mice.
How long has the plague been going on?
Farms and homes have already been battling soaring numbers of the rodents for months, and CSIRO researcher Steve Henry this week said it had become a "full-blown" plague from Armatree northwards across NSW.
NSW Health reported of its measures to deal with the vermin.
"The current mouse infestation across western NSW is a natural occurrence," the spokesperson said.
"NSW Health staff are responding with appropriate control measures.
"These include increased baiting and trapping, deterrent measures such as odour repellents and increased frequency of food waste removal, and blocking access by improving seals around doors and windows, yard and grass clearing around buildings, and blocking brickwork weep-holes and other cavities."
In Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD), there have been no cases of leptospirosis, a reportable infectious disease, NSW Health statistics show.
While there have been a total of six cases in other health districts across the state this year, WNSWLHD has not had a reported case since 2017.
WNSWLHD public health manager Priscilla Stanley urged vigilance.
"While the district hasn't had any cases of leptospirosis, it's important for people who work closely with animals, such as farmers, vets and abattoir workers to be aware of the symptoms while we are experiencing an escalation in mouse and rat numbers."
- with the Daily Liberal