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Author: Jennifer Forman Orth

Invading your brain since 2002.

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Nature Blog Network

Friday, May 11, 2007

A Pox On You  

This BBC News article has the most awful photo I have seen in the news for a long time - a dead red squirrel. The photo is provided as evidence of something wildlife biologists have been concerned about: squirrel pox has spread to the native red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) in Scotland. The squirrel pox virus has been known since 2005 in the UK, where it is carried by the introduced American gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), so perhaps this development was inevitable. The article does note that scientists are working on a vaccine for the virus, but in the meantime, Scottish conservation officers are asking residents to avoid feeding squirrels, since that encourages the congregation of both species, and are asking anyone who observes a red squirrel with lesions to report it.

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