Friday, November 14, 2003

See you later, Alligator

Evidence is mounting that alligators (Alligator mississippiensis)) can transmit West Nile virus (Flavivirus sp.), according to this article from The Idaho Statesman. An Idaho man handled infected baby alligators, shipped from Florida, and later came down with a mild case of the virus. Hundreds of the gators died after arriving at the gator farm where the man works, and the rest of the 1,000 that were imported were later destroyed. While the method of infection is not certain, the man does not remember being bitten by a mosquito, and no West Nile-infected mosquitos have been found within state lines. Someone should lets folks in Louisiana know about this; this story from The Advocate states that alligator-to-human transmission is not possible.

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