NY1 for You: Some Lower East Residents Scared to Death of Severe Rat Infestation

After the death of one person in the Bronx from a rare infection spread by rat urine, those living along one block on the Lower East Side say they're scared to death of a severe rat infestation in their neighborhood. Susan Jhun filed the following NY1 for You report.

It's a real rat race on East 5th Street between avenues C and D, where the sidewalks, street and stoops are overrun with the rodents.

"Once it reaches dark, that's it. They takes over," said resident Laura McNeill.

"The situation is very bad," said resident Isabel Ferreira.

"Rats everywhere!" said resident George Quick.

Those living in the neighborhood say for years, rats have roamed their street at night, feeding off of garbage. But more recently, the rodents have been running rampant.

Not only can you see the rats everywhere, but you can hear them screeching all over.

"They've just taken over. They've just take over. And we fear that they're starting to dig into the building, burrowing into the building, into these hollow walls," Quick said.

A serious concern for those living here after an infection from rat urine recently killed a person in the Bronx.

"I'm scared to death, and I'm not going to pay rent and live in fear, and I feel that the city should get here and say, 'OK, we're going to do something,'" McNeill said.

NY1 for You asked the Department of Health what action it plans to take. A spokeswoman told us the agency's exterminators have baited the block every week in the past three months, measures residents say don't seem to be working.

This area is part of the Department's $3 million rat reservoir initiative, where areas with severe rat infestations are constantly monitored, inspected and treated until the agency sees a decrease in rat activity.  

The Department of Health told us they're sending exterminators out again to treat all existing burrows and will be working with businesses in the community to correct conditions that help the rats thrive. Additionally, DOH is working with the Department of Parks to manage rat burrows in the community garden and advising NYCHA's Pest Control Unit on ways to address rat burrows and manage garbage and disposal at its properties on the street

It is all action that residents pray will rid the area of the rodents.

NY1 for You will stay on top of this.

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