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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Rodent disease implications associated with campgrounds and public use areas in California

  • Author(s): Smith, Charles R.
  • et al.

Rodents, both commensal and wild, serve as reservoirs for a variety of diseases in nature communicable to man. Forty-six percent of the 30 human plague cases in the past two decades in California are associated with campgrounds and public use recreational sites. In addition, human cases of tularemia, giardiasis, relapsing fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Colorado tick fever, and Lyme disease have been associated with recreational activities. Commingling of humans, wild rodents and ectoparasites in disease endemic areas places the public at risk from the above-mentioned diseases. Construction of recreational sites without knowledge of wild rodent and disease ecology may enhance rodent and ectoparasite densities and increase disease potential. Cooperation between vertebrate pest specialists, vector ecologists, and public landuse and recreation specialists is needed in the development and management of campground and public use recreational areas. Knowledge of disease awareness and management technology would result in improved disease prevention and better public health protection.

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