Ebolaphobia And My Resident Rats

Fear kills faster

My housemates are dying.

It’s no news that most people have pests pets. Some have Dogs; most have Cats; others even have Dragons. But me, I have Rats!–involuntarily.

My traps have been lying unproductive for weeks, it was beginning to seem like the guests for which they were intended had developed a higher level of reasoning unknown to their kind, and were now learning to outsmart humans.

This is weird since I have been called The Great Mice Trapper in the past for my uncanny ability to set bait at the most crucial spots. One day I caught 8 mice within 12hours. That’s a huge feat if I ever did see one. So you can imagine my surprise when come Sunday morning I was greeted by a corpse right by my cupboard. Over the next few days, there’s been more casualties averaging 2 per day at very strategic corners of the house.

Will someone tell me who or what is killing them?

There have been some theories.
Some say they were poisoned by an external food source. I wonder what kind of external source feeds ALL the rats in the compound, and why they chose my house as a worthy burial ground. Is my house the gateway to the Nirvana of rats?

The more traditional African part of me wants to scream Holy Ghost fire at the top of my lungs. Rats dying for no apparent reason is suspicious, and suspicious could just as well be spiritual. Perhaps someone from my village is killing the rats and keeping them in front of doors and freezers. Is this a threat?

Then there’s Ebola. Almighty Ebola. The only virus that has effectively taught children (and adults) to wash their hands 50 times a day.

Prevention is better than death

Hospitals have been shut down and patients quarantined all for one man flown in from Liberia, who was allegedly killed by the virus.
An airline was suspended for conveying the body, and countries have been closing their borders.
Fifty nine people identified for having made contact with the same person.
People are being advised to stay off bush meat (which is code for undomesticated meat source and the best thing to have happened to local delicacies), Monkeys, Bats and dead animals.

Just one man and half the literate population’s already freaked out. But let’s not forget this is Nigeria where people have a death phobia and religion is the next best thing (money being the best) to have happened to the life of the average citizen. With over 729 deaths and 1,300 cases recorded within Africa, even doctors are threatened. It’s not difficult to see where the fear comes from looking back at the history of the first Ebola outbreak.
When diseases attendeth your way,
and a cure thou dost not see;
Fear not the doctors say,
for the blood of Jesus covers thee.

Which brings me back to rats. I confess that for a minute or more– most certainly more–I wondered if they’d somehow contracted the disease too. If Ebola can be so easily transmitted, then rats are very apt vectors. So if my domesticated rats are infected, then so many other rats out there probably are. And if people are touching these rats or they effortlessly crawl their way into our lives, then we might as well be dead too.

I’m only reminded of this virus when I spot a rat (like I did today). And even though I push the now pliant body onto a dust pan with my broom, my hands still feel miraculously infected that my feet drag me to the kitchen sink, where I methodologically wash every part of my hand–webs, nails, nail to elbow–while humming the Happy Birthday song. I learnt years ago that the Birthday song was a good way to time a hand wash, ensuring that you get the germs away. Not like I ever paid attention to that before.

Here is to hoping someone just poisoned their food source since it’s apparent my waste bin hasn’t been serving them well; and that these deaths will finally cease or at least they choose some other place to die. If this turns out to be a national phenomenon, then that would be creepy as hell.

Stay safe.

22 thoughts on “Ebolaphobia And My Resident Rats

  1. emekatalks August 7, 2014 / 10:45 pm

    Uju i must commend your rat catpturing skills. remarkable… Back to Ebola, with all the buzz and reported deaths, one cant help but ‘para’. I’m a Huge fan of ‘Suya’ which i have just suspended indefinitely…Just like
    the Bird flu, Im optimistic this too will pass. The craziness has become umbearable.


    • uju August 8, 2014 / 9:05 am

      Put like that, it does seem like something to jazz up a resumΓ© πŸ˜€
      I had a bit of suya some days ago courtesy of a friend, and didn’t even spare a thought to Ebola. But it’s starting to feel like people just want you to be scared even when you just can’t brew one for yourself.
      Today a ludicrous news about bathing with salt reached me and I marvelled at how silly Nigerians could get.

      All is well though, and if one day the death toll rises–I hope it doesn’t– we can always quote another line from GOT–and seems like that happens a lot–and say “Valar Morghulis” πŸ™‚


  2. udoka_ August 5, 2014 / 2:12 pm

    Ma bad, ma erro!
    Where is the edit botton?


  3. udoka_ August 5, 2014 / 12:30 pm

    This ebola scare is real, lol.
    I had a hand check last night with a friend who has being ill for sometime now and I’ve being uneasy ever since.
    To worsen the case, he works in the island, within the vicinity the Liberian victim died. Though he is a banker and has being ill even before the news broke out.

    Heard ebola is very contagious the moment the symptoms start manifesting.


    • uju August 5, 2014 / 12:34 pm

      The fear of Ebola is the beginning of wisdom? Hehehe
      I would be worried about a handshake from a sick person at such a time as this. Getting the flu is bad enough; being stuck with Ebola is worse than I can possibly want to imagine.


  4. udoka_ August 5, 2014 / 12:22 pm

    @Uju, good write up.
    I think the rats had their food poisoned somewhere else like you said.


    • uju August 5, 2014 / 12:37 pm

      Well I have thought of that. I have prayed for that. But just recently I’ve begun to see dead baby rats too. Does the poison theory also hold true for them?


  5. Charles Williams August 5, 2014 / 9:27 am

    Hey, nice post you have here and a very unique style of writing. I’ll look out for more of your writings in the future.


    • uju August 5, 2014 / 9:52 am

      Thank you Charles, I look forward to having you around more πŸ™‚


  6. livelytwist August 4, 2014 / 11:12 pm

    Ebola’s threat is real & people’s response in a country where nothing seems to work is unsurprising. I hope you get to the bottom of this soon. How annoying!


    • uju August 5, 2014 / 7:00 am

      Thank you Timi. People are already making Ebola vs AIDS jokes around here.


  7. Great August 4, 2014 / 9:33 am

    Hahahahaha…Please who is killing those rats?
    I want to believe the rats have been poisoned somewhere somehow.
    This is indeed Ebolaphobia.Please, next time you see a rat just remember this part of your post,
    “So if my domesticated rats are infected, then so many other rats out there probably are. And if people are touching these rats or they effortlessly crawl their way into our lives, then we might as well be dead too”…and try calculate the to see how many people have died around you, cos rat is an unwelcome “pet” in almost every home. If you can’t count up to 10, then you safe.

    Don’t just hope, but believe it is a coincidence. May you be free from Ebolaphobia.lol


    • uju August 4, 2014 / 10:02 am

      I’m glad you find this funny. I just hope you’re right about the poisoning.

      Our Caretaker’s dead. Does that count for something?

      “May you be free from Ebolaphobia”
      AMEN!!! πŸ™‚


      • Great August 5, 2014 / 8:52 am

        We need 9 more people to confirm. I hope he didn’t die recently though? This is interesting then.


      • uju August 5, 2014 / 9:30 am

        He died last week. There’s been 2 more deaths but I’m sure they are unrelated…though you really can’t tell now. I hear people are even scared of malaria too πŸ˜€


  8. ericjbaker August 3, 2014 / 9:00 pm

    I don’t intend to make light of your situation, but again you convey the eerie nature of the situation. A great horror writer lies within you.

    Having dispatched that notion, I’ll move on to saying that your experience is unnerving. Keep washing those hands. Have you explored where they might be getting in and considered blocking it up? Those critters can fit through some tiny openings.


    • uju August 3, 2014 / 9:41 pm

      On the contrary, making light of the situation is just what I need. Thank you.

      I’ve already tried blocking the little holes. If I have to do any more, I’d have to call my house Patches. No idea how they end up coming back and multiplying. Those things are just plain annoying….and to think they don’t even share the rent!


  9. rheapatel22 August 3, 2014 / 8:52 am

    Your blog is great! I’m new to blogging and was hoping you could kindly visit my blog and comment on or like anything you found interesting?


    • uju August 3, 2014 / 3:55 pm

      Hi Rhea, just did and found so much to love.
      Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚


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