Restaurants shuttering during the coronavirus pandemic have led to a shortage of waste, causing rodents to start acting more aggressively as they search for food.

The CDC issued a warning on its website, where it also mentioned that rodents depend on food and waste from commercial establishments like restaurants. Closures have forced rodents to scavenge elsewhere, causing them to act more volatile.

The CDC noted that some regions have reported “an increase in rodent activity” and that environmental health and rodent control programs should be ready for an inflow of more phone calls about “unusual or aggressive rodent behavior.”

Residents and business owners can fend off unwelcome intruders by securing their homes or buildings, getting rid of trash and vegetation, making sure garbage cans are sealed, and removing pet food. The agency wrote that established protocols should be followed when cleaning up rodent infestations to avoid the risk of rodent-borne diseases.

Issues with rodents have worsened after the global health crisis. The Hill reports that Washington, D.C. had almost 500 calls concerning rodents over a 30-day period from March to April. Baltimore also reportedly had 11,000 “proactive” calls or online 311 requests regarding rats during the same time frame. Chicago has also had issues with rodents as their behavior becomes increasingly erratic as they hunt for food.

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