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This is why we do not feed raccoons!

Disease emergence in wildlife since the late 1900s has been of unprecedented scope relative to geographic areas of occurrence, wildlife species affected, and the variety of pathogens involved (Friend, 2006; Daszak and others, 2000). This treatise on Baylisascaris larva migrans highlights the recent emergence of a zoonotic disease that over the past 35 years has evolved and progressed as both an animal and human disease. Like many new zoonotic diseases in humans in recent years, the emergence of baylisascariasis is a result of our densely populated, highly mobilized, and environmentally disrupted world. As towns and cities expand, and wildlife populations increase, the wild land-urban interface broadens and human associations with wildlife become increasingly frequent. With geographic distance and isolation no longer meaningful barriers, the opportunities for once isolated diseases to spread have never been greater. Dealing with emerging diseases requires the ability to recognize pathogens when they first appear and to act appropriately. Because outbreaks often are evident in the nonhuman components of the environment before humans are affected, understanding our environment and associated “sentinel” wildlife is a prerequisite to protecting human health.

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