As fall approaches, so does hunting season! Sportsmen and sportswomen who enjoy hunting, camping, hiking or other activities need to be prepared for disease-causing bacteria that may be waiting for them. According to Guy Moore, a wildlife biologist with Texas Department of State Health Services, “Outdoor activities bring a greater risk of exposure to diseases transmitted by fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and other animals.”
Some of these diseases and their carriers are:
- Brucellosis, a bacterial disease, which can be carried by wild hogs.
- Anthrax, a bacterium that can cause a severe, life-threatening disease in both animals and humans, sometimes carried by deer.
- Plague, which is sometimes transmitted by squirrels, rats, prairie dogs, fleas, and mice.
- Hantivirus infection to people can sometimes be spread from the excretions from mice. These may be spread in the air on dust particles.
- Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia can be caused by bites from infected ticks.
- West Nile Virus and encephalitis are diseases transmitted by mosquitoes.
- Rabies can be carried by all warm-blooded animals- such as skunks, bats, coyotes, and foxes.
If you are still determined to go out and face these critters, we encourage you to do so. Most of these illnesses are rare, with the exception of West Nile. Just keep these reminders handy:
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after handling game.
- Wear latex-type gloves when dressing game.
- Wear eye protection when dressing game.
- Use insect repellents containing DEET.
- Wear protective clothing, and light colored clothes so you can see ticks on your clothes.
- Stay away from overgrown brush and tall grass if possible.
- Do not touch antlers, bones, hides or other parts of dead animals.