The Rats Among Us

On Tuesday, Dr. Lipkin and his colleagues published their initial results in the journal mBio. Although the scientists examined just 133 rats, they found plenty of pathogens. Some caused food-borne illnesses. Others, like Seoul hantavirus, had never before been found in New York. Others were altogether new to science…So far, they have identified 18 unknown species related to viruses already shown to cause diseases in humans. Two of the new species were similar to the virus that causes hepatitis C.

One scientist told the Times that the discovery of these brand new, never-before-seen viruses in New York City rats is not “a call to wage war on rats just yet.” This scientist lives in Montana.