East Angeles is an unincorporated area in Los Angeles County. East Los Angeles is ranked as the least ethnically diverse community in the greater LA area, according to the Los Angeles Times. East LA’s population is nearly 97 percent Latino. About 127,000 people reside in East LA.

There are about 32,000 housing units in East LA. About 64 percent are rental units.

Maintaining a Healthy Environment in East LA

Local groups in East LA, together with county agencies, strive to maintain a healthy environment in the community. This includes addressing issues with vermin, including rats, that have presented an ongoing problem in East LA, and elsewhere, over the course of the past generation.

The Norway Rat in East LA

Norway rat is the name sometimes given to the most common type of rat found in East LA. Indeed, this is the most common type of rat found anywhere in the United States.

In striving to manage Norway rats in East LA, an effort is made to better educate the public on being able to identify this type of rat. Rats primarily are nocturnal animals. However, when the rat population in a particular location increases, they are also seen more often during the day.

The most common indication of a rat infestation is the presence of rat droppings. Fresh rat droppings are relatively moist and soft. On the other hand, old rat droppings are dull and gray. Older droppings crumble on contact, which can give rise to a hazardous situation discussed in a moment.

The Vector Management Project was created to more safely and comprehensively address the rat problem in East LA and elsewhere. Reports about rats in East LA, as well as about conditions causing rat infestation, should be made to the Vector Management Project at (626) 430-5450.

Rats and Economic Loss

One of the reasons East LA has a coordinated program to combat the rat population in the area is because of the significant level of economic loss that can be caused by these rodents. Rats are capable of severely damaging structures, including industrial, commercial, and residential properties. This destruction occurs because of a rat’s propensity to gnaw on just about anything. In addition, rat waste (including urine) can cause supporting elements of structures to rot.

Rats are also prone to chew off electrical insulation. This has resulted in fires in all types of properties in East LA.

Rat Droppings and Major Health Issues

Historically, and broadly speaking, rats can spread a wide array of diseases. These include plague, murine typhus, hantaviral diseases, rickettsialpox, rat-bite fever, leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, and listeriosis.  Hantaviral diseases, though not commonplace, are of great concern in East LA when it comes to old rat droppings.

As mentioned, when old rat droppings are touched, they crumble. When they crumble, dust potentially containing a virus of some type is released into the air. When breathed in, a person can become infected by the virus.

The dangerous nature of rat droppings defines the need for professional biohazard cleanup to remediate the situation. This includes an obligation on the part of a landlord to obtain professional rat droppings cleanup assistance so as not to unduly expose tenants to an even greater risk of exposure to harmful pathogens, like viruses and bacteria.

The LA Health Department serving East LA can provide additional information about health issues associated with rats and rat droppings. In addition, residents of East LA can obtain testing to ascertain if they’ve been infected in any way following exposure to rats and rat droppings.

There is no clinic located specifically with the geographic boundaries of East LA, but there are one a few miles away that serves the community. The clinic serving East LA is located at:

Alhambra Health Department

612 West Shorb Street

Alhambra, California 91803


East LA Tenant’s Rights and Rat Infestation

East LA tenants have organized. Tenants have even taken to the streets in East LA to protest.

They have come together to address issues like rent and safe living conditions in their homes. These concerns have included demands to address ongoing problems with a rat infestation in some parts of East LA.

Tenants do have a role in preventing rat infestation in some instances. For example, they need to strive to keep their apartments clean.

With that said, landlords have a significant role in addressing rat infestation and similar issues associated with other types of vermin. For example, in a multiunit apartment building, a solitary tenant can only do so much to control rat infestation. A tenant has no ability to address rats in common area, in the basement or attic, or in the walls of an apartment building. These are all issues that fall within the province of the landlord.

As mentioned previously, but it bears repeating, a rat infestation can be (and should be) reported to the Vector Management Project at (626) 430-5450. When a landlord is being reported, a tenant can provide information anonymously.

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