Bacteria found in human causing the death of Red squirrels
Most of the dead squirrels having lesions and infections contains bacteria which is commonly existing on the hands and skins of humans but still the scientists are not sure that the bacteria could have caused the death.
According to the wildlife experts, Isle of Wight is the only place in Britain where red squirrels are commonly found due to non existence of grey squirrels and such incidents are reported here as the people living there feed the squirrels outside their houses.
Veterinary Record, a professional journal states in one of its report that eleven out of the total dead squirrels found in the Isle of Wight and Jersey in the year 2007 and 2008 contained the bacteria staphylococcus aureus which is present in the nose or on the human skin by nature.
It is also stated in the report that the people of the Isle of Wight have a habit of feeding the squirrels and hence the chances of the food getting contaminated with the human bacteria at the source are more.
The report was submitted by Vic Simpson from the private Wildlife Veterinary Investigation Centre, Cornwall who also quoted that the disease attacking the squirrels could be a new one completely, otherwise the squirrels must be getting infected from the human bacteria. Squirrels who even otherwise having less immunity could be more vulnerable.
He also further added that if it is found out from doing more research on this issue that the squirrels are dying out of infection caused by human bacteria then people would be instructed to wear gloves or wash their hands and then leave the food outside for the squirrels. Till such time there would be no notification to the public.
The grey squirrels which are more ferocious than the red ones carry squirrelpox virus without displaying any symptoms could pose a threat to the grey squirrels.
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