Several people have died following an outbreak of a rare lung disease among people who have visited California's Yosemite National Park .
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) was first identified in the US in 1993, but researchers subsequently discovered Americans had been dying of the disease since at least 1959.
The Hantavirus infection is caused by ingesting by swallowing of inhalation microparticles of faeces and urine from infected rodents.
The Boggart Blog health expert Dr. Peasemold Phibes said, "To prevent themselves contracting this disease people should avoid sniffing rat turds. If somebody offers you rat turds to sniff just say no. Or when a friend suggests it is safe to sniff squirrel turds tell them they are misinformed. Just because a species is cute or looks innocent it does not mean their turds are safe to sniff. There is no such thing as an innocent rodent, thus these is no safe quantity of rodent poo."
A few years ago in Scandinavia there was a spate of cases of young people throwing themselves off cliffs after sniffing lemming turds. Investigators eventually discovered pushers had told the teenagers they would be sniffing the poo of flying squirrels.
You Just can't Be Too Paranoid