NEW YORK CITY RATS CARRYING PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN PATHOGENS

NEW YORK CITY RATS CARRYING PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN PATHOGENS —

A team of scientists at Columbia University trapped 133 Norway rats — Rattus norvegicus — from five sites in midtown and lower Manhattan, and used DNA sequencing to catalogue the pathogens they carry.

They found an alarming number of disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and single-celled organisms called protozoa. At least one of the protozoan and eight of the bacterial species have been linked to gastrointestinal disease in humans.

Even more disconcertingly, they discovered nearly 30 viral species, including almost 20 mammalian viruses, and 18 viruses that were previously unknown to science.

Everyone who’s ever used a New York City subway…
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