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Statement of the Problem

Shortly thereafter, two surveys were conducted by environmental health professionals. One was an actual survey of the physical conditions existing within the selected area and the second an informational study of the opinions and attitudes of the population. The survey area was 60 city blocks made up of three-story houses with multiple residences, owned by absentee landlords. These houses which had been homes for a single family of six to nine people, now housed six apartments with 50-60 people. The surveys were used: to determine the existence and level of rodent infestation within the communities; to determine in a more precise manner the number of rat bites that were occurring within a calendar year; and the interest of the citizens to work together to remove food sources and harborage and destroy a good portion of the rodent population. A huge amount of infestation was found along with substantial harborage and rodent entrances into houses. The number of rat bites reported to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, were about 100 per year for the entire city. The number of rat bites found in the survey made by environmental health practitioners, numbered in the hundreds for the 60 city blocks. Obviously, there was an enormous amount of under-reporting of rat bites to doctors and to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

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