TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A viewer recently sent NEWS10 a photo of what appeared to be a sick squirrel. After sending the photo to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), DEC Wildlife Biologist Kevin Hynes said the squirrel most likely has squirrel fibromatosis, or “squirrelpox.”
The photo of the squirrel with “squirrelpox” is below. Be aware that some may find it disturbing.
Hynes said squirrel fibromatosis is fairly common in New York. Most cases resolve on their own, but sometimes squirrels die from it.
According to Hynes, squirrel fibromatosis does not affect humans or pets. It is often spread to squirrels by mosquitoes or other biting insects, and by squirrel-to-squirrel contact.
“There is no treatment for squirrel fibromatosis, but in most cases, the lesions regress and leave little evidence they were there,” said Hynes. “If squirrels survive, they will have immunity to reinfection.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are many “poxes” that can affect humans and animals. However, not all affect humans.
Squirrel fibromatosis is a leporipoxvirus, which infects rabbits, hares, and squirrels. These viruses do not affect humans.
However, orthopoxviruses can infect humans and animals. The genus includes monkeypox, cowpox, and the variola virus, which causes smallpox. Other orthopoxviruses include:
- Ectromelia virus
- Horsepox virus
- Raccoonpox virus
- Skunkpox virus
- Taterapox virus
- Uasin Gishu virus
- Volepox virus
According to the New York State Public Health website, the state currently has over 700 confirmed cases of monkeypox. Monkeypox is a rare, viral infection that does not usually cause serious illness, but it can result in hospitalization or death.
Parapoxvirus can infect a variety of livestock animals including sheep, goats, and cattle. CDC said humans are normally infected if their occupation involves sheep, goats, and cattle.
Molluscum contagiosum is part of the Molluscipoxvirus genus. CDC said the virus only infects humans and is a common infection in children and immunodeficient people.
There are many other animal “poxes” on the CDC website, including:
- Sheeppox virus
- Goatpox virus
- Canarypox virus
- Fowlpox virus
- Pigeonpox virus
- Quailpox virus
- Sparrowpox virus
- Turkeypox virus
- Crowpox virus
- Peacockpox virus
- Penguinpox virus
CDC said these “poxes” don’t affect humans, only animals. In regards to the Troy squirrel, Hynes said that if the squirrel dies, the DEC encourages contacting its regional wildlife office to arrange an examination.