Just another part of the job.
By Kevin L. Clayton,
Massachusetts Environmental Police
Cahterine Brown, DVM, MSc, MPH
Conservation Officers never know when parasites will show them “1000 Ways to Die”.
When I’m relaxing after a long day, I take in a few guilty pleasures on cable television. One of my favorites is “1000 Ways to Die” on SPIKE1 which depicts methods of death, often unintentionally self-inflicted. The second program, “Monsters Inside of Me” on Animal Planet2, follows the ordeals of citizens who have been infested or infected by various critters and bugs. Internal and external parasites, bacteria and viruses all seem to be members of “P.I.T.H.”… the critter group called, Parasites Ingesting Tasty Humans. As I watch the program, each episode more disturbing than the last, I realize that we, in conservation law, enforcement are often exposed to death or monsters such as those depicted in these programs.
This brings us to the following important questions: which diseases carried by ani- By Kevin L. Clayton, Massachusetts Environmental Police and Catherine Brown, DVM, MSc, MPH mals can also infect people (such diseases are called zoonoses) and pose the greatest risk to conservation law enforcement officers and which methods are most effective at reducing our chances of finding one of 1000 ways to die from a zoonotic disease or parasite? Let’s look at a few scenarios through which we may find ourselves exposed and what we can do to reduce the chances that PITH members will have their way with us and our insides.