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Author Topic: Do grey squirrels harbour Lyme disease?  (Read 2201 times)

Offline Pecos_Bill

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Do grey squirrels harbour Lyme disease?
« on: 12/07/2015 00:29:16 »
I am retracting my earlier suggestion that Grey Squirrels could be partially controlled by hunting them for the pot. This is because the recent episode of "This Week in Science" on iTunes reports that they have recently found to harbor a species of tick that is a vector for Lyme Disease. The NHS reports that between 2 and 3,000 cases of Lyme are diagnosed in England and Wales every year.(1.)

Of further concern is the mention of urban infestations of the cute little buggers in London with people feeding them. People are entertained by them and even feed them by hand. I cannot recommend the feeding of squirrels.

I once saw the acrobats from the Peking Opera in Long Beach. They couldn't hold a candle to these squirrels when they see a bird feeder. Watch and see.


(1.)http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Lyme-disease/Pages/Introduction.aspx
« Last Edit: 12/07/2015 09:45:54 by chris »


 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Grey Squirrels and Lyme disease
« Reply #1 on: 12/07/2015 00:56:19 »
All very true but no reason not to eat squirrels. Lyme-bearing ticks infest pretty much all game but the greater risk is from contact with long grass: a happy tick will stay attached to its host rather than transfer directly to another, but a hungry tick will prefer a warm body to a stem of grass.

AFAIK there is no risk from eating a well-cooked infected carcass, otherwise we would test all animal carcasses, and particularly game species, for Lyme. 
 

Offline Pecos_Bill

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Re: Grey Squirrels and Lyme disease
« Reply #2 on: 12/07/2015 01:17:21 »
That is true, but the states of America where you would find squirrels being hunted are places like the Carolinas, Arkansas, and Louisiana. In those places, a case of Lyme's disease would not affect the quality of life much worse than it commonly is already.

Do they have Tuleramia in the UK? I know they have it in Sweden and Finland. That's another  reason not to hunt "bush meat" here. Tuleramia is under research as a biowarfare agent.

"In 2005, small amounts of F. tularensis were detected in the Mall area of Washington, DC the morning after an antiwar demonstration on September 24, 2005. Biohazard sensors were triggered at six locations surrounding the Mall. While thousands of people were potentially exposed, no infections were reported. The detected bacteria likely originated from a natural source, not from a bioterror attempt." (1.)

(1.) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/01/AR2005100101209.html
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Grey Squirrels and Lyme disease
« Reply #3 on: 12/07/2015 06:22:46 »
Tularemia is mainly caught by tick bites and by hunters skinning infected animals. There was one case reportedly arising from an infected rabbit being run over by a lawnmower.

But I think eating well-cooked meat should be quite safe.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tularemia#Epidemiology
 

Offline Pecos_Bill

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Re: Grey Squirrels and Lyme disease
« Reply #4 on: 12/07/2015 08:53:12 »
The issue is not with cooked game. I like Hassenpfeffer as much as the next man. The issue is bush meat slaughter in general -- whether that is fruit bats or rabbits or whatever - once you are infected you are infected. Skinning a dead animal is just asking for it. Perhaps I have been sensitized because both plague and hantavirus are endemic in California. Only the foolish roll their sleeping bags out near mouse burrows. Tularemia was named that because it was first identified in Tulare county. Tulare county generally being the dogpatch that it is.

 Moreover, mowing over a rabbit that is too sick to avoid a lawnmower is going to produce aerosols. Those aerosol infections piqued interest in Tularemia as a possible bioterrorist agent.

 Humans can become infected through several routes, including:

Tick and deer fly bites
Skin contact with infected animals
Ingestion of contaminated water
Laboratory exposure
Inhalation of contaminated dusts or aerosols
In addition, humans could be exposed as a result of bioterrorism.(1.)

So if one simply <<has>> to hunt rabbits for the pot, as opposed to buying farm raised meat, one has to run the risk. And that is true of any "game".

When I visited Muckross house in Kilkenny, there were numerous antlers displayed. The victorians would sit in boats on the lakeshore while the servants drove the stags into the water to be gunned down. I find the use of the word "game" in hunting to be a rather curious turn of phrase indeed.

(1.) http://www.cdc.gov/Tularemia/
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Do grey squirrels harbour Lyme disease?
« Reply #5 on: 12/07/2015 18:59:16 »
On the other hand, aware of the environmental damage done by wholly unnecessary meat farming, I encourage people to eat only wild meat, preferably stalked, killed and prepared by themselves. Sport rather than game, perhaps, buit I don't think you should eat anything you wouldn't be happy to kill.

In a primarily vegetarian agricuture, rabbits, squirrels, pigeons and deer are (a) pests and (b) delicacies.

As for big game, I'm thinking of introducing a Real Man's Sport. None of this wimpy rifle shooting, nor even a bow and arrow. On my game reserve you can pit yourself against a lion, hippo, walrus, elephant, crocodile, moose, shark, rhino, bear, or two wolves (like humans, they prefer to hunt in packs, so you can bring a friend)....with a flint hand weapon that you made yourself.  And just to make it interesting, say 10,000 a go. Come on, guys, you know it's possible - your ancestors used to do it every day! And the winner gets to eat the loser - indeed I insist on it.
« Last Edit: 12/07/2015 19:02:25 by alancalverd »
 

Offline Pecos_Bill

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Re: Do grey squirrels harbour Lyme disease?
« Reply #6 on: 12/07/2015 20:32:52 »
Ah so desu ka. Nature, red in tooth and claw instead of England's green and pleasant land.

Perhaps you remember your Gibbon? Would you like to paint yourself blue and chase the deer through the Scottish mists?
 

Offline RD

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Re: Do grey squirrels harbour Lyme disease?
« Reply #7 on: 13/07/2015 11:29:45 »
... Perhaps you remember your Gibbon? ...

:)
« Last Edit: 13/07/2015 11:33:45 by RD »
 

Offline Pecos_Bill

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Re: Do grey squirrels harbour Lyme disease?
« Reply #8 on: 13/07/2015 12:25:28 »
Edward Gibbon was himself an Englishman describing why the Romans never conquered and subdued the Scots (as they had the English) thusly...

"The masters of the fairest and most wealthy climates of the globe [The Romans] turned with contempt from gloomy hills, assailed by the winter tempest, from lakes concealed in a blue mist, and from cold and lonely heaths, over which the deer of the forest were chased by a troop of naked barbarians [Scotland]. - Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire"

O Caledonia! stern and, wild,
Meet nurse for a poetic child!
Land of brown heath and shaggy wood
Land of the mountain and the flood,
Land of my sires! what mortal hand
Can e'er untie the filial band,
That knits me to thy rugged strand!
 

Offline RD

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Re: Do grey squirrels harbour Lyme disease?
« Reply #9 on: 13/07/2015 15:17:16 »
Perhaps you remember your Gibbon? Would you like to paint yourself blue and chase the deer through the Scottish mists?

... Edward Gibbon ...

Sorry, I thought you meant [Mel] Gibson  [:I] : he played Scottish historical-figure William Wallace, with (anachronistic) blue-warpaint ...

« Last Edit: 13/07/2015 15:26:42 by RD »
 

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Re: Do grey squirrels harbour Lyme disease?
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