“They Came From The Basement.” That’s not just a good title for a horror movie – it’s also an accurate description of how mice start in NYC apartment and office buildings. While people are already squeamish about rats and mice in NY, there’s a new scientific study that makes the story of mice in a New York City building far more horrifying and dangerous that residents realize. A new study out of Columbia University’s School of Public Health found that house mice throughout New York City carry E. coli, Salmonella and more. The study, published in the journal mBio, looked at New York City house mice as “potential reservoirs for pathogenic bacteria” that may spread to humans.

The New York Times’ direct headline summarizes the problem without simply without hyperbole, but is still alarming: “New York Mice Are Crawling With Dangerous Bacteria and Viruses.” How did the scientists collect this information? Researchers collected droppings from more than 400 mice captured over a year in eight buildings in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. The team then analyzed the droppings for bacteria and viruses. What the team found is that mice living in the basements of New York City apartment buildings — even those at expensive addresses — carry disease-causing bacteria, antibiotic-resistant bugs and viruses that have never been seen before.

While researchers weren’t particularly concerned with the nine species of viruses that had never been seen before and others that have not been known to cause human disease, they found the bacteria to be alarming. The scientists detected some of the most recognizable disease-causing pathogens, including Shigella, Salmonella, Clostridium difficile and E. coli. The study also found antibiotic-resistant bacteria like those that have become nearly untreatable at area hospitals. It’s unclear whether the bacteria on the mice pose any health threat to people or have caused any human disease. However there is enormous potential for trouble. For centuries people have linked rodents to illnesses like the Black Death.

For more information, please read the short version here and the full scientific study here.

While it was always a good idea to have quality pest control that will keep your building free of rats and mice, this study gives landlords, property managers, and owners even more reasons to call Bell Environmental.  Bell doesn’t make excuses as to why our exterminators can’t keep your building safe. Our Pest Control delivers results.