Enjoy Nature - From Afar

- National Pest Management Association
Friday, September 14, 2012

I have been amazed at the number of sad and scary-but-true stories that have emerged lately about serious and even deadly repercussions from people’s interactions with wildlife.  I was moved this morning reading about a young girl infected with the bubonic plaque. While it’s not clear exactly how she got it, there’s speculation it may have come from her clothing touching a dead squirrel and/or insects around it.  Then there are those who have been sickened and others who have died this summer from the Hantavirus after exposure to rodent droppings in Yosemite National Park.  Earlier this week a neighbor of mine was bitten repeatedly by a rabies-infected beaver.  (Thankfully, she is expected to be fine.)

While each of these stories is heart-breaking, they also offer good reminders that many pests are vectors of disease.  In addition to transmitting the bubonic plague, Hantavirus, and rabies, pests are also culprits in causing West Nile Virus, Encephalitis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Salmonella, and countless other illnesses. While animals we see in nature are sometimes viewed as “cute” and rarities to see, it is important to keep your distance from them, always.  Children need to be reminded to stay clear of non-domesticated animals and admire them from afar.  It is important for pets to be current on all vaccines.

As temperatures begin to drop, many pests, including nuisance wildlife, often get a little closer to our families than they do at other times of the year. They attempt to come into our yards and houses in search of food, water, and shelter.   These recent stories offer needed reminders to take steps to keep homes and their surroundings as unwelcoming as possible for pests. Often a series of unusual, high profile events - such as these unique pest incidents - can cause undue panic among people.  Panic is not necessary or warranted but vigilance in protection against pests is always warranted.

  


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