Hi friends! It's Starry! Circulating in sensational news media this week is a story about opossums and typhus. Unfortunately, many of these stories provide little science or practical guidelines, and instead seem content to fearmonger and further stigmatize our opossum friends! Ambassador angels like Sesame and so many others have made such strides in opossum education; it's disheartening to see a new cycle focused on seemingly nothing more than perpetuating hate and ill-will toward America's only marsupial species. But we will not be discouraged! Continuing to educate, raise awareness, and foster compassion for our wild friends is what we'll do, forever and ever amen.
My wonderful friend, rehabber Lea Barley Murray, has written an insightful and informative breakdown of the current situation! She provides perspective on the problem, possible ways to curb the typhus endemic, and uses her writing and smarts to combat this new attack on opossumkind. At the end of her explanation, please find information for how to contact Inside Edition to encourage them to present responsible information on opossums (and also feral cats and our other wild friends).
(Lea is on Facebook and Instagram, and shares lots of pics of her rescue opossums.)
"Opossums are being targeted, blamed and will ultimately be slaughtered by the thousands because of assumptions and irresponsible reporting.
Tonight a story reported by Jim Moret on Inside Edition outright targets and blames opossums for the outbreak of typhus in California. I guarantee that people are going to panic due to that report and start killing opossums.
On October 9th, 2018 David H. Walker, the executive director at the Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases at the University of Texas in Galveston said he isn’t shocked about the cases in Los Angeles, which has a trifecta of perfect conditions for a typhus outbreak: warm weather, lots of people, and a vibrant population of street animals that includes rats, cats, and opossums but he also states that opossums are an unusual carrier of the parasite! Yet the only animal mentioned from Jim Moret and Inside Edition's report this evening were opossums.
The common denominator in this situation is the flea!! They should be calling in Dr. Michael Dryden, who is a Veterinarian and a Professor of Veterinary Parasitology, in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology at Kansas State University. He is known in the veterinary world as Dr. Flea because of all of his extensive research and knowledge about them.
Everyone needs to stop targeting opossums and start controlling the flea problem! If the state of California or at least the regions this is affecting would have the common sense to partner up with a company like boehringer-ingelheim animal health and treat our wildlife with Nexgard or some other type of oral flea medication to attack the true problem.
Also, the most common way people become infected is by getting flea poop on their hands, and smear it on an open pore or orifice of their body and it's not as if they are out petting opossums, rats or feral cats so it must be that either their pets have fleas or they have an infestation in their houses so keeping pets on flea control and treating yards and the environment is essential.
And as a final note: Cat fleas are a different species than dog fleas. However, despite their name, cat fleas are capable of affecting dogs and a large array of other animals including humans. NOT JUST OPOSSUMS.
I am just so worried about the ramifications from this evening's report that I am beside myself sick over it. I am contacting Inside Edition and am going to ask that they correct the information that they blasted out there. Thousands of opossum lives are at stake. We need to be their voice so please take just a few minutes to contact them as well; the information is below."
Thank you, Lea! The contact info is as follows:
Call Inside Edition at (212) 586-1213 and ask for the Comments Line.
Email them at email@example.com AND firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, of course, please be sure to share positivity and facts about opossums (and all animals) whenever you have an opportunity. You never know who's mind or heart you'll reach!
Written by me, Starry, from It's Me, Sesame!