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June 10, 2003 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
Nine new cases of suspected monkeypox were reported in the Midwest by state and federal health authorities Monday, bringing the total number of suspected victims to at least 37. Only four of the cases have been confirmed by genetic tests to be monkeypox, but the disease is so distinct that it is likely most of the suspected victims actually have the virus, said Dr. Stephen M. Ostroff of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
June 27, 2003 | Allison M. Heinrichs, Times Staff Writer
Three weeks since the first monkeypox case was reported in the United States, the outbreak appears to be waning with only one possible new case reported since Saturday. Kathy Harben, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the agency is confident the disease, which has been spread by pet prairie dogs, has been contained. She said the agency does not expect to see a significant number of new cases.
June 8, 2003 | From Associated Press
A virus related to smallpox that has never been detected in the Western Hemisphere may be the cause of a mysterious disease spreading from pet prairie dogs to people across the upper Midwest, health officials said Saturday. Dr.
June 15, 2003 | Wendy Orent, Wendy Orent writes frequently about infectious disease and is coauthor of the forthcoming book "Biowarrior: Inside the Soviet/Russian Biological War Machine."
It appeared at first we'd dodged the bullet. Now it's not so clear. Monkeypox, a close cousin to the smallpox virus, unexpectedly appeared this month in the Midwest, far from its natural home in the rain forests of Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone. For the last couple of decades, monkeypox in Africa has been an elusive threat. It has erupted in Congolese villages after someone has become infected through killing, skinning and eating a rat, squirrel or monkey.
June 15, 2003 | From Associated Press
One prairie dog infected with monkeypox before health officials identified the virus may have been responsible for spreading the disease to half of the human cases in Wisconsin, a state health official said Saturday. "A lot of people got exposed over time," said Robert Ehlenfeldt, acting state veterinarian. "That exposure would have happened before we knew what we were dealing with."
June 17, 2003
OK, enough already with all the animal viruses. They live over there. And we live over here. And unless all cuddly creatures housing weird viruses decide to don little face masks, there's a good reason for separation. Everyone likes fuzzy little things. Thanks to animal cartoons and superheroes, Americans grow up anthropomorphizing, reading the most darling of preposterous thoughts into the simple instincts of ordinary animals, who can be grand companions.
February 20, 2005 | From Associated Press
Twenty years ago, a veterinary student could still carry the Merck Veterinary Manual in a back pocket. But today's students probably can't cram the latest edition into any pocket -- it has 2,712 pages and weighs 3 pounds. To keep up with the world's emerging animal-to-human diseases and growing bioterrorism threats, the reference book's first update in seven years has 35 more chapters and 400 more pages than the previous manual.
June 21, 2003
The things some teachers have to worry about these days: "Help, I think my clawed frog has dropsy," reads one chat-room posting at Another: "My betta is despondent ... not hungry." "Chinchillas do not smell like a guinea pig." There's nothing to focus a teacher's worry like a problem with a classroom pet beloved by every student, including the child who's allergic to dander. Or the one whose parents will sue if a gerbil bites.
May 2, 2005 | Valerie Ulene, Special to The Times
I'm a soft touch when it comes to pets. We've got two fish, two dogs, a horse and, until recently, we also shared our backyard with three chickens. But I decided to draw the line when my children pleaded for a chinchilla after a friend of theirs had gotten one. I didn't want the responsibility of caring for yet another animal and didn't think a chinchilla would make an ideal pet.
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