New Orleans setting more rat traps as rodents get desperate for food

With restaurants across the city closed, it has interrupted part of the ecosystem of a persistent pest: rodents.

Video showing rats and mice scurrying into a vacant Bourbon Street went viral last week. The rodents usually feast on restaurant trash, but with most of them closed, there was nothing for them to forage.

Claudia Riegel with the New Orleans Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board says they don’t need rodent-borne disease getting into the mix with the coronavirus.

“There are pathogens in these rodents,” she said. “Fortunately, we don’t see many of the health outcomes, we don’t have many disease cases that are actually related to rodents, but the potential is there.”

Workers are stepping up efforts to set out rat baits to eliminate the pests.

Riegel also warns that with the weather getting warmer, mosquito season is coming. She said coronavirus cannot be transmitted by mosquitoes, but the West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases remain a health concern.