The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning of unusual or aggressive rat behavior as the coronavirus pandemic leaves many restaurants shut down or running on limited service.
Rodents rely on the food and waste generated from restaurants and other commercial establishments, especially in population dense areas, according to the CDC. The rats are now searching elsewhere.
"Environmental health and rodent control programs may see an increase in service requests related to rodents and reports of unusual or aggressive rodent behavior," the agency said on their website.
The CDC urged businesses and individuals to take preventative measures to eliminate conditions that attract and support rodent activity.
In order to prevent rodent presence, businesses and individuals should eliminate conditions that attract rodents and monitor rodent populations. According to the CDC, there will likely be a resurgence of rats as commercial activity returns to normal.
Following the agency's website, it is critical to clean up after rodents to prevent rodent-borne diseases and flea bites.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a coronavirus briefing Tuesday that rodent abatement is always something that is "top of mind" for her administration.
With people staying at home, they are creating more garbage and recycling or creating compost, Lightfoot said. She explained compost can be a breeding ground for rodents, so Chicagoans should ensure they are out of reach for rats.
"We also need to make sure that we are securing our garbage cans, putting the garbage in the can, making sure you've got a fully functioning lid," Lightfoot said. "Those are all the things that are important. And then we will continue to step up our enforcement."
The Chicago mayor encouraged those who are seeing a rodent problem to call 311 immediately.