The Verge: Rats: some people enjoy their company as pets, to many others, they are virulent pests that helped the spread of the bubonic plague (“black death”) in Medieval Europe. For New Yorkers, they are just one of many interesting local daily sights on the subway tracks and platforms. Yet it turns out some of them are carrying a surprising number of previously undocumented viruses. Specifically, scientists captured 133 rats from traps set in five locations around New York City, euthanized them, then took genetic samples of the bacteria and viral specimens found in their tissues and excretions. But while many of the bacteria detected were expected (e. coli and salmonella), the scientists also found at 18 completely new viruses. None of these new viruses have been found in humans, at least not yet, but two of them are structurally similar to Hepatitis C, which does occur in people and raises the risk of liver scarring and cancer. While there’s no immediate cause for alarm, the scientists note that that the spread of these new viruses from rats to humans could theoretically already be occurring and is possible in the future, and are advocating for more comprehensive disease monitoring in humans.
It’s not Ebola you gotta look out for in New York, it’s the damn rats! Who knew? But if you think about it, eighteen really isn’t a lot is it? I figured there would be at least 50. I mean they live in the subway tunnels. Must I explain what it’s like down there? There’s no rules for people, let alone rats. They just chill all day, trading diseases and dodging the E train. If you’ve never seen rats on the subway tracks, consider yourself lucky. Maybe I’m still new to this whole New York City thing, maybe I’m just disgusted by the filthy vermin species that are rats.
Some of them are tiny like mice, but other ones can be confused for small cats. They are sometimes massive and always gross. Every time I see one on the tracks, I feel like I need a shower. It doesn’t make sense, but I just feel gross being in the same company as the subway rats. But I still look right at the tracks when I’m down on the platform. I often find myself looking for rats. Like I don’t want to see them, but I keep looking for them. I’m so far in my head at this point it’s scary.
“No immediate cause for harm” is the biggest plate of boloney I’ve ever heard. That’s why I stay away from the subway whenever I can. While it’s cost-efficient and time-efficient, I prefer being above ground. God forbid something happens in the tunnel, I’m a dead man. That’s not even the point. I’m not afraid of that. I’m not afraid of the bums and crazy people. I’m not afraid of falling on the tracks (I have NO idea how that even happens by the way). I’m afraid of the rats and Hepatitis.
PS- Seeing rats on the tracks is nothing compared to seeing one on the PLATFORM. That is some scary shit.
PS2- Have you ever seen the movie Willard with the creepy guy from Like Mike? Yeah, well no thanks, don’t want anything to do with rats.