It could happen in any office building from which staff made hasty, "temporary" departures at the start of the pandemic. One week rolled into the next, and the workers did not return, but all those snacks around their offices remained. Local rodents took notice, apparently, at the FDA's headquarters, known as White Oak, in Silver Spring, Maryland: Sanitation and maintenance workers there are "combatting" a mouse infestation in several buildings, reports Politico.
FDA officials confirmed the infestation, which is affecting less than 10% of office space. They said leftover snacks and other pandemic factors are partly to blame and confirmed it's meant some workers had to move to satellite desks or continue to work remotely. But by most accounts, it’s not really a new issue around White Oak, where staff began noticing rodential cohabitants during a period of major construction in the early 2010s. Officials stated that "neither pest control nor any other facilities issues are impacting the agency’s return" to office-based operations. The FDA has weathered the pandemic, and it can weather this.
In tweets responding to the story, former FDA officials told tales of other critters: One alum claims "there were frogs everywhere," recalling one hopping through security in building 66. Former commissioner Scott Gottlieb quipped, "We had a problem with garden snakes that we found in the building. We got rid of the snakes, and look what happens." An FDA rep downplayed the issue, telling Politico, "The White Oak Campus is located on a 662-acre site that is primarily fields, green space, and woods, which provides a natural habitat for field mice." (Read more FDA stories.)