SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a warning that rodent populations are increasing in the US as rats search for sources of food other than restaurant dumpsters, which for the large part remain bare due to closures during the pandemic, CNN reports.

“Jurisdictions have closed or limited service at restaurants and other commercial establishments to help limit the spread of COVID-19,” the CDC said, according to CNN. “Rodents rely on the food and waste generated by these establishments. Community-wide closures have led to a decrease in food available to rodents, especially in dense commercial areas.”

The CDC said rats are even showing up in residential areas where they usually don’t venture, and that some are even reportedly showing “unusual or aggressive” behavior.

To avoid encounters with rats, the CDC advises people to seal all home or business entryways and to properly dispose of garbage in tightly-sealed bins.

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