FLOOD victims are being warned of potential rodent infestations in their homes following the storms.
Rats and other small mammals have been forced to flee their traditional subterranean habitats, like sewers, following the prolonged bad weather and will seek new shelters.
Homes which have suffered flooding are the most at risk, according to health officials, as floods could have created gaps or holes in foundations which may have allowed rodents to gain access.
Furthermore rats, in particular, are very strong swimmers and this has prompted the HSE to issue warnings to flood victims of storm-battered communities in Limerick City to carry out extensive disinfection procedures.
"Before any clean-up begins care should be taken to check for the presence of rodents in the dwelling. Seal all openings into the dwelling to prevent further entry of rodents," a HSE public safety message warned.
Irish Pest Control Association (IPCA) spokesperson Brendan Ryan says the problems posed by rats following the flooding is an "extremely significant" concern for urban dwellers as well as the farming community as well.
He said if rats have entered, homeowners will hear them in the walls and should use rodenticides where necessary.