Health Officials: Rats a Concern at Occupy DC Sites

Hypothermia also a concern

Monday, Jan 9, 2012  |  Updated 9:42 PM EDT
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District of Columbia health officials are concerned by the presence of rats at two encampments at Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square.

There's a large concentration of rats at the sites, where demonstrators have been gathering for months, D.C. Health Department spokesperson Najma Roberts said.

Unsanitary conditions have encouraged the presence of rodents, Roberts said, and as winter approaches, officials are also concerned about the possibility of hypothermia.

The Health Department has no formal jurisdiction over the sites because they're federal park property, Roberts said, but health officials are speaking with other agencies.

There are no immediate plans to recommend evicting the demonstrators for health-related reasons unless there's an outbreak of illness or an approaching snowstorm, Roberts said.

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