Not the plague cat: Shelby County's Mountain Lion. [Gloves, people! Protective respirators!]
And I thought dead rattlesnakes were the only things that could smite me from beyond the grave.
A wildlife biologist who was never trained about disease risks he could encounter while on the job died from the plague after handling a deceased lion without protective gear, according to a federal report.Read the whole sad story here. York was involved in a mountain lion collaring program in Grand Canyon National Park and became ill after recovering the body of a collared lion.
The report [completed in May; released 19 Nov. 2008] by a National Park Service review board said Eric York, 37, didn't wear gloves or a protective respirator in October 2007 while handling and performing a necropsy on a mountain lion that had died of the plague.
An average of 10 to 15 persons are infected with plague in the U.S. each year, according to the CDC. The disease is usually associated with infected rats and rat fleas that live in the home, and is more common in rural areas: "in the United States, the last urban plague epidemic occurred in Los Angeles in 1924-25." [Yes, L.A. was urban then: 576,673 inhabitants in 1920.] Diamond Bar, an area threatened by the recent fires here in SoCal, suffered a plague outbreak in the 1970s. The Diamond Bar outbreak was traced to ground squirrels, the usual plague suspects in Southern California. But a fatal case of plague from handling a mountain lion...? Unheard of — until now.
CDC Plague Home Page
World Health Organization: Plague Fact Sheet
MedlinePlus Encyclopedia: Plague
Note to self: when collecting
H/T: Wildfire Today.