Notice to volunteers participating in activities at the Everglades Outpost Inc.

There are always some potential hazards associated with any kind of fieldwork, and working in environments at the Everglades Outpost Inc., is no exception. With some care and awareness on your part, the risk of disease and/or injury can be reduced to levels comparable to those of any outdoor excursion. There are 3 broad categories of potential problems:

1.) To avoid falling on uneven ground, watch where you are stepping at all times however tempting it may be to keep your eyes on the animals instead. Never run!

2.) In addition to the normal outdoor biological risks in southern Florida, such as irritating plants and venomous animals, working in close proximity to animals potentially introduces additional hazards. The major potential risk is rabies, but any animal bites expose you to the possibility to wound infection. As is always the case, you should never handle a wild animal, should avoid being near one that is acting strangely, and you should not behave in any way that night induce an animal to bite you. You should, of course, be up to date on your tetanus toxoid injections.

3.) There are additional risks in working closely with non-human primates. They may harbor organisms that cause disease in human beings, some surfaces you touch may have been in direct contact with monkey feces in the recent past, and it is thus probable that your hands, clothing and shoes, etc., are carrying trace remains of this contact, including viral and bacterial contamination.

Because you may become infected by ingestion (e.g. handling food) or possibly even by contact with your mucosal surfaces or wound (e.g. scratching an itchy nose), it is important to practice good hygiene. These risks can be reduced by simply covering any existing sores or wounds with gauze bandage and by washing your hands and forearms frequently and thoroughly before you prepare any food or eat and before you touch your mouth, genitals, nose or eyes (or anybody else). It is also a good idea to clean the soles of your footwear and wash your clothing at the conclusion of the day.