Monday, June 09, 2003
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 
Monkeypox In Milwaukee

The title of this post isn't mere verbal jabber, nor the 'too-clever-by-half' name of a blog. Unfortunately, it's a statement of fact.

Until today I'd never heard of a disease called monkeypox - much less suspected that this obscure Western and Central African viral disease had arrived in the placid Midwest, a stone's throw from Chicago. Apparently, no vaccine is available yet.
From CNN: "According to the CDC, the pet distributor got the animals from an Illinois distributor who had kept the prairie dogs in a container with a Gambian rat, another popular rodent pet. Health officials said they suspect the rat was the source of the infection because tests have shown Gambian rats have antibodies to monkeypox. Close contact with prairie dogs or Gambian rats could put people at risk, Hughes said."
The symptoms of monkeypox are similar to smallpox, but the fatality rate for humans is only somewhere between one and ten percent. The disease is usually transmitted to people from squirrels and primates through a bite or contact with the animal's blood.

Moral: beware of prairie dogs and vampire squirrels. Not frightening enough? We now have the specter of camelpox as a bioweapon.

Should I laugh or cry at this?

But if you call in sick to work tomorrow with monkeypox, I don't know you.