NYC mice carry life-threatening bacteria, study finds

Artificial Antimicrobial Peptides Could Help Overcome Drug Resistant Bacteria

Artificial Antimicrobial Peptides Could Help Overcome Drug Resistant Bacteria

New Yorkers know to steer clear of the city's rats for a multitude of reasons, one being that they can carry diseases.

While rats are pitted as the demons of NY, researchers at Columbia University warn mice are the real health danger for humans.

According to The Washington Post, these include "Clostridium difficile, which causes severe diarrhea in humans; Salmonella enterica, responsible for bacterial food poisoning; Klebsiella pneumoniae, which can cause pneumonia or bloodstream infections; and the toxic and invasive type of Escherichia coli".

New York City is infamous for graffiti-covered buildings, rough neighborhoods, and rats the size of raccoons, but it turns out it should be paying more attention to its mice: according to a new study, 23 percent (roughly 1 in 4) of New York mice carry a drug-resistant gene, making them excellent carriers for all kinds of diseases, including six previously undiscovered viruses.

Lead researcher Simon Williams, from Columbia University in New York City, said: "From tiny studios to penthouse suites, New York City apartments are continually invaded by house mice". In concert, these findings support the need for further research into the role of house mice as potential reservoirs for human pathogens and antimicrobial resistance in the built environment.

Alongside that study, the team also published an analysis which took a closer look at the viruses found in the mice droppings.

A previous study of rats in NY by investigators at CII found several of the same pathogens, including E. coli, Salmonella, and C. difficile. However, they identified genetic sequences matching viruses that infect dogs, chickens, and pigs, suggesting the possibility that some of the viruses had crossed over from other species.

Mice from Chelsea, heavier than mice from other sites, also carried more viruses.

New Yorkers tend to be too focused on rats, said Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, a senior author of the study and a professor of epidemiology at the school of public health, because they're larger and more likely to be seen scurrying in the subway or alley.

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