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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-04-2005, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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Plague and PDS

Today A man told me that pds can carry Bubonic plague and rabbies! First of I don,t think that is right, as I remember the plague was caused by fleas on rats. I live in Illinois, he said his wife works for the military and watches pds and there mounds. We do have a base close to my town but i did,nt think that pds are native to Illinois. I know that anybody can contrat rabbies and other diseases, but are pds carriers? I knew that if anybody could tell me actual facts about pds it would be the pd lovers of america (you guys) at first I thought he was going to jump to monkeypox and I was ready to win that fight! So if anyone could let me know that way iam prepared to fight this idiot and his acqusations! LOLO AmyK
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-05-2005, 12:01 AM
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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.

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-05-2005, 01:37 AM
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Yes prairie dogs carry the plague as can any rodent, but like you said it's passed by fleas and pd's in the wild do have fleas. Just last yr a man in TX hunting pd's contracted the plague. It was caught early, treated with antibiotics and the man is fine. There is a plague known to prairie dogs, but it's something the pd's catch and is not bubonic plague. It can wipe out an entire town in just days. Now rabies in pd's is not something they carry like skunks, dogs and cats can. Pd's die within 24 hours of exposure. Because prairie dogs are wild caught pets people assume they can pass on dangerous disease's to humans, but there's not much to worry about.

Jenniffer Scardina
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Last edited by pdjenn; 02-05-2005 at 01:44 AM.
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