The Trouble With Pocket Pets

An outbreak of monkeypox in the Midwest, the first ever to hit the western hemisphere, left more than threescore sick. A far less lethal relative of the smallpox virus, monkeypox has hitherto been endemic only in Africa. So it came as little surprise when health authorities traced the outbreak to 28 prairie dogs in Milwaukee, Wis., destined to become household pets, that had come into contact with an infected giant Gambian pouched rat while in transit with a distributor. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson announced an embargo on the importation of all rodents from Africa and a ban...

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