New data has revealed that rat infestation in New York City has increased 70 per cent from the same time two years ago.

The data by the city's FOX 5 news network said that 21,500 sightings were reported in the city between January 1 and September 30 this year, a huge jump from 18,601 sightings during the same period in 2021, reports Xinhua news agency.

Through the month of April, New Yorkers reported seeing around 7,400 rats.


According to the Fox 5 report, the New York City Council will vote on a plan of action to handle the rodents later this month.

The plan includes almost $5 million to mitigate the issue, but Fox 5 reported that experts said the funds were not enough.

Lora Lopez, an IT consultant and lifetime resident of New York, told Xinhua she couldn't even safely walk her dog outside, as her canine "has almost been bitten" by rats over the past year.

Records show that roughly 300,000 affluent New York residents fled the city in the spring of 2020.

New residents have moved in and taken their place.

Statue Of Liberty
 Statue Of Liberty , New York City

Covid restrictions forced restaurants to set up tables outside, and some customers "would just throw their trash, like their dirty napkins, on the ground and not pick them up", Lopez said.

"This sudden uptick in poor hygiene was a major reason for the rat infestation," she added.

Rodents, such as rats, can spread many diseases, including rat-bite fever and monkeypox, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(With inputs from IANS)