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1,000 dead swamp rats ashore in MS

Concern about potential health hazard from dead rodents

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. | September 4, 2012

Clean-up crews in protective gear worked along beaches in parts of southern Mississippi where dead rodents washed ashore in the aftermath of Hurricane Issac.

Hancock County Emergency Management Agency officials estimate more than 15,000 swamp rats killed by Isaac's storm surge have washed up on the beach, WLOX-TV, Biloxi, reported Tuesday.

The county closed portions of Beach Boulevard in Bay St. Louis while workers in hazardous materials suits removed the nutria carcasses.

Flies and mosquitoes have begun buzzing around the carcasses, WLOX reported. Workers used pitch forks to remove the rodents that were loaded onto front-end loaders and taken to landfills.

Officials said they're concerned about a potential health issue because of bacteria and the possibility the dead rodents may explode in the heat.

"We don't want anybody out here in the stuff," said Hancock County Supervisor David Yarborough. "They're actually starting to swell up and bust. It smells really bad. So, any sightseers, you might want to second guess this one before you come out."

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