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Orlando Smells A Rat: Area Dealing With Rodent Outbreak

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File photo of a rat. (credit: Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images)

File photo of a rat. (credit: Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images)

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ORLANDO, Fla. (CBS Tampa/AP) — Mickey and Minnie Mouse aren’t the only rodents in Orlando. But they may be the only lovable ones.

An outbreak of rats in Orlando has trappers hopping. The Orlando Sentinel reports the Orange County Health Department has received about 45 calls regarding rats since the beginning of February.

“People are noticing more,” Justin Idle, field technician with Wildlife Solutions, told the Sentinel. “They found out they have rats and never noticed before.”

Health Department spokesman Dain Weister says the rat calls have come from across the county, including areas near downtown Orlando.

There are several theories on the rat outbreak, including the milder than normal weather and road construction projects, which have disturbed rat nests. They also say the high number of foreclosed and vacant homes that aren’t being maintained offer rats perfect nesting spots.

Officials say the last rat outbreak in Orange County occurred in 1999. The cause, however, remains a mystery.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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