Scientists at Columbia University released results Tuesday from their findings after capturing and examining 133 New York City rats for pathogens.
“Everybody’s looking all over the world (for viruses and bacteria), in all sorts of exotic places, including us,” Ian Lipkin, a professor of neurology and pathology at Columbia, telling the New York Times. “But nobody’s looking right under our noses.”
The results were alarming, the team of scientists found plenty of pathogens as expected. Even some that cause food-borne illnesses and others that were never traced in New York before.
President of EcoHealth Alliance Peter Daszak called the findings “shocking and surprising.”
Get this…the team also made a ‘groundbreaking’ discovery by identifiying 18 unknown species known to cause disease in humans, said David Patrick, director of the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia.
“These viruses may or may not have any links to human illness, but it is good to be able to describe them in detail,” he told the Times.
Good news is, researchers didn’t find any of the worst pathogens known to man such as, Yersinia pestis, which causes the bubonic plague.