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Foreclosure Crisis Ceding American Communities to Rats, Insects

Abandoned swimming pools and garbage-strewn ghost towns have become ground zero for mosquito and rat infestations.

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Rat infestation is also an increased problem in foreclosed homes, especially in the early stages of the foreclosure, Bass said. "Typically, when people first move out, if there is a lot of garbage left behind, the rats move in," she said. "People were simply abandoning the home, and lots of vegetation is overgrown. We found dead rats or opossums, cats or other animals seeking water in the pool. But, when the people and the food are gone, the rats leave, too."

Annette Fuentes is the editor of "Critica: A Journal of Puerto Rican Policy."

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