New York Rats Can Spread Covid-19 Variants
A new study has shown that rats are capable of spreading the Alpha, Delta and Omicron variants of Covid-19, making New York City's rat problem even more important.
It's no secret that rats can be a major catalyst of disease in big cities, and now according to a report by the American Society for Microbiology, the Alpha, Delta and Omicron variants of Covid-19 are among those that rats could spread.
Professor and Director of the Center for Influenza and Emerging Infectious Diseases at the University of Missouri Henry Wan, Ph.D., stated "Our findings highlight the need for further monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 in rat populations for potential secondary zoonotic transmission to humans. Overall, our work in this space shows that animals can play a role in pandemics that impact humans, and it's important that we continue to increase our understanding so we can protect both human and animal health."
According to the report, the main concern is that not only are rats capable of spreading the disease to humans, but their infection could allow the virus to mutate into new variants that could be more contagious and deadly for people. In fact, the rats captured for the study were captured from New York City, meaning rats carrying the variants are undoubtedly running wild through the city already.
And obviously, rats aren't an exclusive problem to New York. There are plenty of run-down and abandoned structures in the Binghamton area that have become a rat sanctuary. While solving the rat problems in cities was already on the docket, knowing that they could infect people in the area with more aggressive variants of Covid-19 should give us all good reason to make sure our homes and properties aren't hospitable to the rat population.