Officials Inspect Lubbock Prairie Dogs for MonkeyPox - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/10/03

Officials Inspect Lubbock Prairie Dogs for MonkeyPox

"Just want to stop by and visit with you today, (Tuesday), about the health concern the United States is having over MonkeyPox," said Jodie Heilman, one of the City's Environmental Inspector.

Heilman is checking on the health of Lubbock's prairie dogs inside pet stores. She happens to be at Pets Plus when we caught up with her. Owner Richard Evans assures Heilman his 150 dogs are healthy inside his store."Of course, we've got these from local areas. They're all from Texas," Evans said.

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Reports indicate prairie dogs are the carrier of a rare virus called, MonkeyPox. Those prairie dogs became infected through the Gambian rat. Health officials say there are 33 suspected cases only in the Great Lakes Area were humans have become infected. No one has died. That's an isolated case.

But health officials are still concerned in Lubbock. Only because prairie dogs are found in large quantities here. But Heilman says not to worry, because there's no MonkeyPox in Lubbock. Heilman says all the prairie dogs she has inspected inside the stores appear to be very healthy.

Only two pet stores in Lubbock sell the dogs that she knows of, Pets Plus and Walter's World of Pets.

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