Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Vinson Massif, Antarctica
There was an outbreak of sylvatic plague in a relatively small number of prairie dog colonies about 8 years ago. To my knowledge no humans were ever infected. Its a fairly common disease in rodents (yes, transmitted via fleas and ticks) throughout North and South America. Its not something they just carry. They catch it and die from it. Same goes for monkeypox. They catch it, they die from it. Chances of human transmission are slim.
Any mammal can contract rabies. There are no increased vectors for rabies in prairie dogs any more than cats, dogs, ferrets, raccoons, or other common animals we all know of that can get it. Even bats have no increased chance of getting or transmitting rabies, contrary to popular belief, than any other mammal. Again, its not something they just carry. It is something they catch and die from.
Prairie dogs are quite susceptible to exotic diseases, and whole colonies can be wiped out quite quickly by them. It is one of the many reasons why their populations are dwindling. Its a real shame too, because prairie dogs are what is referred to as an ecological keystone species. Many other species rely on them for survival - including snakes, black footed ferrets, burrow owls, gopher tortoises, etc. When the monkeypox thing hit, Dept. of Natural Resources people were panicking because they were afraid people would see the reports on it and release their pet prairie dogs to the wild, and possibly introduce the disease to the wild populations - of not just prairie dogs, but other native rodentia. Thankfully, there are no cases of this occuring.
She sits in her corner, singing herself to sleep.
Wrapped in all of the promises, that no one seems to keep.