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Engineers should always consider safety first. This page will concentrate on safety issues uniquely related to working in wetlands and wildlife areas, for more general information on safety we recommend:

For more information on disease vectors talk to the folks at your closest mosquito abatement district.

Bird flu aka avian influenza

The Avian Flu claimed at least 200 humans in Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, Romania, China, Turkey and Russia. Epidemiologists are afraid that the next time such a virus mutates, it could pass from human to human. If this form of transmission occurs, another pandemic could result. Thus disease-control centers around the world are making avian flu their top priority. The H5N1 strain of the virus has been proven to be spread to domestic animals such as cats and has the potential to be spread to dogs. The disease has been known to spread from cat-to-cat however cannot be spread from cats to humans.

A vaccine developed by sanofi pasteur, Inc. is the first vaccine to be developed for H5N1: however, it has not been made accessible to the general public.

March 2006 USDA Fact sheet on Bird Flu
Wikipedia article on Avian influenza

Lyme disease

Lyme disease, or borreliosis, is an emerging infectious disease caused by bacteria from the genus Borrelia. The vector of infection is typically the bite of an infected black-legged or deer tick, but other carriers (including other ticks in the genus Ixodes) have been implicated.

The disease presentation varies widely, and may include a rash and flu-like symptoms in its initial stage, then musculoskeletal, arthritic, neurologic, psychiatric and cardiac manifestations. In a majority of cases, symptoms can be eliminated with antibiotics, especially if treatment begins early in the course of illness. Late or inadequate treatment often leads to "late stage" Lyme disease that is disabling and difficult to treat.

The acute phase of Lyme disease infection is a characteristic reddish "bulls-eye" rash, with accompanying fever, malaise, and musculoskeletal pain (arthralgia or myalgia).[1] The characteristic reddish "bull's-eye" rash (known as erythema migrans) may be seen in about 80% of early stage Lyme disease patients,[5] appearing anywhere from one day to a month after a tick bite.[6] The rash does not represent an allergic reaction to the bite, but a skin infection cause by the Lyme bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato.

Wikipedia article on Lyme disease

West Nile virus

West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. If you become infected with West Nile virus, you may not experience any signs or symptoms or you may only experience minor ones such as a skin rash and headache. However, some people who become infected with West Nile virus develop a life-threatening illness that includes inflammation of the brain. West Nile virus is common in areas such as Africa, West Asia and the Middle East. It first appeared in the United States in the summer of 1999 and since then has been found in all 48 contiguous states.

Treatment of West Nile virus primarily includes supportive therapy such as receiving fluids through a vein (intravenous) and taking pain relievers. Exposure to mosquitoes in an area in which West Nile virus exists increases your risk of getting West Nile virus. Protecting yourself from such exposure, such as by using mosquito repellent and wearing clothing that covers your skin, can reduce your risk.

For more information on disease vectors talk to the folks at your closest mosquito abatement district.

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