Rats could be carrying Covid across entire cities and ‘posing threat to people’

City rats could potentially infect humans with COVID-19, according to new research which has found the rodents can carry the virus.

Scientists found that rats living in New York City, US, could carry the SARS-CoV-2 virus, sparking fears that this could be ‘posing a threat to people’ especially those living in densely populated areas.

The study led by Dr. Henry Wan, director for the University of Missouri’s Center for Influenza and Emerging Infectious Diseases, found that rats were capable of being infected and carrying the Alpha, Delta, and Omicron variants.

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In a statement, Dr Wan said: “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.

The study confirmed the findings of previous studies in that Covid infections could pose a risk to humans, if the virus kept mutating in rodents before being transmitted to humans.

Rats have caused a particular issue in New York City, where the study took place, after seeing a huge surge of vermin on the streets.

The increase prompted Mayor Eric Adams to declare a war against the rats last year with officials adopting the now viral slogan: “The rats don’t run this city. We do.”

Meanwhile, in the UK, London similarly saw a growing population of rats throughout the numerous lockdown as a result of people increasing their household rubbish due to staying home.

Rodent activity grew by 51% in the first lockdown, according to The British Pest Control Association. The second lockdown then marked another 78% increase in vermin activity.

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