Hurricane Sandy Could Drive NYC Rats onto Streets and Spread Disease

There are about 8 million people living in New York City. There are also at least that many rodents in the city. Rats usually keep to themselves living underground. However, the flooding of Hurricane Sandy could force rats out of their underground dwellings, according to Rick Ostfeld of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Milbrook, N.Y.  “Rats are incredibly good swimmers, and they can climb,” Ostfeld said. So the flooding is more likely to displace the rats, rather than kill them.
Where else to go but up into the streets where the rest of the city lives? This increases the risk of infectious diseases being spread. Rats carry diseases such as Leptospirosis, Hantavirus, Typhus, Salmonella, and even the plague. A rat’s bite and even rodent feces and urine can spread Hantavirus. Ostfeld thinks the huge volume of water may dilute the pathogens and decrease the public health risks. But, rats could start infesting areas they never had before, and this is still something we should be concerned about.

Article Source: The Huffington Post

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