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What do you think of the outbreak of monkeypox?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Tropical Ailment

A disease never before seen in the Western Hemisphere might have infected as many as 37 people in the U.S.

Now officials are trying to track down pet prairie dogs thought to be spreading monkeypox. The illness has only sent a small number of people to the hospital, and those patients are expected to get better with the help of bed rest.

The smallpox-like virus doesn’t seem to spread from person to person. Right now, only those with unhealed lesions should be quarantined as a precaution. "We do not have evidence of person-to-person transmission, although we are looking at that possibility," said Stephen Ostroff of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He said that people should talk to a veterinarian or local health officials if they’ve been exposed to, or owned a sick prairie dog, rabbit or Gambian giant rat.

Officials think the illness came from Gambian rats brought in from Africa as exotic pets. From there it moved on to prairie dogs. And Phil Moberly, who co-owns a pet store in the Chicago suburbs where some of the infected prairie dogs were thought to have contracted the infection, said he purchased the rats from a breeder in Texas, not knowing they were sick.

Cases have shown up in people in three midwestern states.
post #2 of 10
If people would leave wild animals alone, we the stupid humans would not get there sickness!
post #3 of 10
Aren't prairie dogs carriers of the hanta virus? I really don't think people should keep exotic pets, not only because of possible contagion with exotic diseases, but also because it is impossible to offer the animals anything approaching their natural habitat or social behavior. People should stick to dogs, cats and run-of-the mill rodents or farm animals.
post #4 of 10
There are soooooo many cats, dogs and other "normal" types of animals that need homes why do people have to get weird ones that can give you horrible stuff!
post #5 of 10
Just another reason that prairie dogs need to be controlled just like any other type of vermin. Sure, they are cute, but they are not pets! They are pests! They apparently become carriers of diseases very easily. They do carry the bubonic plague - you know, the Black Plague that wiped out a third of Europe? Yeah, that one. That is nature's way of thinning their population, which is so much more humane than culling their ever-growing numbers.

(I don't think they carry the Hanta Virus, though. I've only heard of that in association with field mice.)
post #6 of 10
Taken from: http://www.colszoo.org/animalareas/n...og/pdogex.html

<<Only about 1 percent of what was historically prairie dog range remains. Breaking native ground for farming and poisoning animals to eliminate competition for cattle grazing has taken its toll. Many other wildlife species which thrive on the presence of prairie dog towns have been adversely affected by their declining population also. The black-footed ferret, which once preyed solely on prairie dogs, has vanished in the wild. Other species such as the badger, coyote, eagle, and burrowing owl have also been negatively affected by the loss of a food source and living quarters.>>

Seems like the wiping out of the "vermin" has been extremely succesful, so far.

I believe it is wrong to try and destroy a species, simply because we humans consider them a pest, or even a nuisance. I don't know when a species goes from being a nuisance to being a pest, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if WE'd qualify.
post #7 of 10
I didn't say "wipe them out", I said control them. They breed at an amazing rate, and they will take over and decimate any piece of land that they can, clearing the land of most any vegetation, digging holes and burrows. As I also stated, when their population becomes unmanageable nature's way of controling the population is bubonic plague. That's a fact. They can survive anywhere, and they will and do set up "towns" in residential neighborhoods, and they expand to the point of digging burrows in people's yards, chewing through water and gas pipes, as well as underground electrical wiring. Would you want one of these flea-infested, disease ridden critters in the same yard as your children and pets? There have been cases of kids and pets getting the plague because of prarie dogs.

Trust me, I live in an area that was once ALL prarie dog habitat. They are FAR from being wiped out!
post #8 of 10
The vector for Bubonic Plague is actually the oriental rat flea (Xenopsylla cheopis). During the Iraq war there were reported threats of biological warfare and the CNN medical "experts" kept insisting it was from rat bites, which is absolutely false. The plague appears to have originated in China more than 700 years ago and migrated to Europe along the "spice route" opened by Marco Polo. It was spread to North America from Europe. The flea's primary host is the brown rat, which has spread, through involuntary human assistance, all over the world. The flea can infest any rodent, though it's ability to thrive and reproduce seems somewhat less capable on other than the brown rat. There are a handful of cases in the US, Canada and Western Europe every year. With modern antibiotics it is generally easily treated.

As for prairie dogs, there is absolutely no indication Monkey Pox has infected the wild populations. The infected animals are limited to ones in the pet trade, and even here it appears very limited to those exposed to a select few imported rodents from Africa intended for the pet trade.

In some areas prairie dogs are considered pests, as are coyotes, cats, rattlesnakes, and many others. I have only been around one pet prairie dog. It showed up at our shelter after it escaped from it's owners, who quickly came in and reclaimed it. Granted this was only one animal, but it was entertaining, friendly and affectionate. I guess it was similar to a pet rat (which I do have some experience with.) Yes, there is an abundance of cats and dogs and other traditional pets, but no pet is right for everyone. With the abundance of prairie dogs, and their apparent ability to easily adapt to and thrive in captivity (especially captive bred individuals) I don't see the issue. Cats have only been domesticated since the time of ancient Egyptian, even ferrets appear to have been domesticated longer.

post #9 of 10
valanhb wrote:
<<Trust me, I live in an area that was once ALL prarie dog habitat. They are FAR from being wiped out!>>

You had me worried for a moment, but this seems OK to me.
When I wrote the previous post, I had just been on some sites that described all the horrible methods that are used to destroy prairie dogs.
Having only seen them in the zoo, I just find them irresistible and reading about what was done to them, made my stomach turn.
I guess, I'm am a softie when it comes to animals.

Moles are another example.
If I see all their molehills, my first reaction is: "destroy them".
Molehills are not only ugly, but dangerous as well, especially for horses.
Then when I actually see a little mole in a mole-trap, I go "awww, no, poor little fella".
If that makes me a hypocrite, then so be it
post #10 of 10
There was a headline on Compuserve this morning that 2 healthcare workers are possibly infected with monkeypox after treating people known to have the disease.

I've also heard that they're using the smallpox vaccine to innoculate people who are at risk of exposure; the belief is that immunity to smallpox will give immunity to monkeypox. I know it used to work that way with cowpox, as well; if you had cowpox, you didn't get smallpox.
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