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Health officials: Rats a concern at Occupy DC site

Monday - 1/9/2012, 6:28pm  ET

WASHINGTON - District of Columbia health officials are concerned by the presence of rats at two encampments at Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square.

D.C. health department spokeswoman Najma Roberts said Monday there's a large concentration of rats at the sites, where demonstrators have been gathering for months.

She says unsanitary conditions have encouraged the presence of rodents, and that as winter approaches, officials are also concerned about the possibility of hypothermia.

She says the department has no formal jurisdiction over the sites because they're federal park property, but that health officials are speaking with other agencies.

She says 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.

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