This is Scientific American — 60-Second Science. I'm Christopher Intagliata.
Rats. They're a defining feature of life in New York City, rustling in trash bags, scurrying along the subway tracks—and becoming famous for occasionally eating pizza. But these urban vermin may be less of a threat to human health than their smaller, cuter cousins—the city's mice.
"They're in your buildings, and they get into your kitchen cupboards, and they get behind refrigerators. So they have a real potential to contaminate the environment that you actually live in."
Simon Williams is a microbiologist at Columbia University and the University of Western Australia. He and his colleagues trapped more than 400 mice in apartment building basements in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. They took swabs of the mice's rear ends, gathered feces from the traps, and subjected both to a battery of genetic tests.
The mice harbored an array of disease-causing bacteria, like shigella, Clostridium difficile, salmonella. They also carried a suite of antibiotic-resistance genes, and viruses associated with insects, dogs, chickens and pigs. Mice from a Chelsea apartment building had the most pig virus—perhaps, the scientists say, because they live near the Meatpacking District, which used to have pork processing facilities before fashionable nightclubs took over.
The details are in the journal mBio.
The mere fact that these microbes can be found in poop, though, isn't cause for immediate alarm. "You know we're not saying these bugs are all out to get us. But we're just finding the genetic footprint of these bugs. They're indicators, but we're not saying they're necessarily out there and there's a huge problem. So just keep calm, in terms of the public health response."
Further work might tease out whether there's transmission of bacteria between mice feces and humans. Until then, there are plenty of other New Yorkers to investigate.
"Cockroach would be an amazing one to go onto next. I think they have real potential."
Thanks for listening for Scientific American — 60-Second Science. I'm Christopher Intagliata.
大老鼠，是纽约市生活的基本特征，它们在垃圾袋里沙沙作响，沿着地铁轨道奔驰，又因偶尔吃批萨而闻名 。但是，这些城市害虫对人类健康的威胁可能不如其体型较小也更可爱的近亲——城市小老鼠 。
“它们进入你家楼里，闯进你的厨房橱柜，藏在冰箱后面 。所以，它们真的可能会污染你居住的环境 。”
哥伦比亚大学和西澳大利亚大学的微生物学家西蒙·威廉姆斯说到 。他和同事在纽约曼哈顿、皇后区、布鲁克林和布朗克斯的公寓楼地下室中诱捕了400多只小老鼠 。他们取下放在小老鼠臀部的棉签，收集捕鼠器中的粪便，然后对二者进行了一系列基因测试 。
小老鼠体内有大量致病菌，比如志贺氏菌、艰难梭菌、沙门氏菌等 。它们还携带一系列抗生素抗性基因，以及与昆虫、狗、鸡和猪有关的病毒 。曼哈顿切尔西公寓楼里的小老鼠所携带的与猪有关的病毒最多，科学家表示，这可能是因为公寓楼在肉库区附近，虽然现在被时尚夜店占据，但肉库区以前有很多猪肉加工设备 。
虽然在粪便中发现了这些微生物，但也不致于马上拉响警报 。“我们并不是说这些病菌会全力攻击我们 。我们只是发现了这些病菌的基因足迹 。这些病菌是指示信号，但是我们并不是说这些病菌必然存在且会引发巨大的问题 。所以，公共卫生应对措施要保持冷静 。”
进一步研究工作可能会对小老鼠粪便和人类之间是否存在细菌传播进行梳理 。在那之前，有很多居住在纽约的生物都要进行调查 。
“蟑螂会是下一个特别的调查对象 。我认为它们极具研究潜力 。”
谢谢大家收听科学美国人——60秒科学 。我是克里斯托弗·因塔利亚塔 。
1. a battery of 一系列（测试、检查等）；
We give a battery of tests to each patient.
2. an array of 一大批；一大群；
I was confronted with an array of knobs, levers, and switches.
3. take over 取代；代替；占上风；
Cars gradually took over from horses.
4. tease out 套取，套出，巧妙获得(信息或答案)；
To tease out the relationships between sleep, starvation and survival, the researchers deprived fruit flies of both food and sleep.