As a professional biologist working for a government agency, I am required to carry a card alerting medical personnel that I may have been exposed to certain zoonotic diseases (animal diseases that can infect man) not routinely considered in differential diagnosis. Some of these pathogens are obscure and seldom heard of, such as monkeypox and Q fever; others more commonly make headlines, such as influenza, West Nile virus, Lyme disease, and Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. Hunters, ranchers, and biologists who work with wildlife have an increased risk of acquiring these diseases directly from animal hosts or their parasites. Here are some precautions to take to avoid exposure to wildlife pathogens as you go afield this season (modified from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/).
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