Rabies, Lyme Disease, Hanta Virus, oh my!

  • Squirrel carrying a pine cone in its mouth

    Neal and Mary Jane Mishler


Some of the furry creatures that scamper around camp aren't as harmless as they seem. E. Lendell Cockrum, who has spent his life studying animals and the diseases they carry, has written a book telling why. The title spells it out: Rabies, Lyme Disease, Hanta Virus and Other Animal-Borne Human Diseases in the United States and Canada. Half the book is a compilation of pictures that help outdoor enthusiasts identify the bats and rodents such as mice and squirrels that carry parasites and infections that can be transmitted to humans. To stay healthy outdoors, Cockrum advises common sense: Treat all water, wear protective clothing and don't handle wild animals. But he also dispels some commonly held beliefs. Deer mice, he says, may not be the only carriers of hanta virus. Recent tests show that wood rats, squirrels and chipmunks are also carriers. Even if precautions are taken, it's still possible to be infected, which is when Cockrum's book could come in handy. "Many of these diseases are serious, sometimes fatal," writes Cockrum, "so recognizing the animals that you've been in contact with can help doctors begin the correct treatment right away, perhaps even saving a life."

Fisher Books, 4239 W. Ina Road, Suite 101, Tucson, AZ 85741 (520/744-6110). Paperback: $14.95. 146 pages.

* Sara Phillips