Food scraps and other rubbish will have lots of germs and sometimes parasites on them.

If food scraps are left lying around in the house or on the ground, particularly in warm, damp weather, it will rot and lots of germs will grow on it. If people, flies, cockroaches, rats or mice touch the rubbish they can get disease-causing germs on them. Anything they touch is then likely to get some of the germs. For example, germs will get onto people’s food if it comes into contact with flies, cockroaches, or mice that have germs on them.

Below is a list of the diseases which people can get as a result of inadequate rubbish and pest control.

Diseases caused by germs

Bacterial diseases include:
  • salmonellosis
  • shigellosis
  • staphyloccal food poisoning
  • skin infections
  • tetanus
Viral diseases include
  • trachoma
  • hepatitis A
  • gastroenteritis
  • Murray Valley encephalitis
  • Ross River virus disease
Parasitic diseases include
  • hookworm
  • threadworm
  • roundworm
Germs and parasites can be transmitted from rubbish to people:
  • Directly by people:
    • coming into contact with rubbish which contains germs and parasites. For example, children may come into contact with rubbish when they play at the rubbish tip
    • injuring themselves on rubbish. For example, someone might cut themself on a rusty tin, allowing tetanus bacteria to enter the body
  • Indirectly by providing places for vectors to live and breed. Vectors are disease-spreading animals, and include mosquitoes, flies, rats and mice which provide a ‘vehicle’ for germs and parasites to spread
  • Rubbish should never be left lying around for the following reasons:
    • Flies which breed in rubbish can carry disease-causing germs, like those that cause food poisoning or eye infections such as trachoma, directly to our bodies and to our food
Fig.  4.2: Flies carry germs to our food.
Fig. 4.2: Flies carry germs to our food.

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Flies can carry germs which cause trachoma and other eye infections.
Fig.  4.3: Flies spread the germs which cause trachoma.
Fig. 4.3: Flies spread the germs which cause trachoma.

Sores, cuts and burns can also become infected when germs are transmitted to them by flies.
Fig.  4.4: Flies carry germs which can cause cuts and burns to become infected.Fig. 4.4: Flies carry germs which can cause cuts and burns to become infected.
Fig. 4.4: Flies carry germs which can cause cuts and burns to become infected.

Cockroaches breed in rubbish and can carry disease-causing germs, like those that cause food poisoning, to food and cooking utensils
Fig.  4.5: Cockroaches carry disease-causing germs to people's food
Fig. 4.5: Cockroaches carry disease-causing germs to people's food.
  • Mosquitoes can breed in water trapped in old containers left lying around. This could include water trapped in old refrigerators, washing machines, tins, bottles or other containers
Most of the mosquitoes in non tropical areas of Australia which like to breed in containers are just annoying. However, in tropical places such as areas of Queensland and the Top End, these containers can provide breeding places for mosquitoes which carry dengue fever.
Fig.  4.6: Many mosquitoes breed in water which collects in containers.
Fig. 4.6: Many mosquitoes breed in water which collects in containers.

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People can get infected sores from cutting themselves on broken bottles, old tins or sharp-edged metal objects which have germs on them

When people cut themselves on these things, the germs get into the cuts and the cuts can become infected.
Fig.4.7: Infected sores often come when people cut themselves on glass which has germs on it.
Fig.4.7: Infected sores often come when people cut themselves on glass which has germs on it.

Rubbish must be stored properly, disposed of often and in the proper way.