DELTONA, Florida - Sciurophobia is the fear of squirrels and, while it is a less common phobia, it affects more than 250,000 Americans -- and maybe your grandparents right now.
Several residents at Sterling Court Retirement Community in Deltona, Florida
have been attacked by squirrels in just the past few weeks. It all started as Phyllis Thrush was enjoying the swings, and a squirrel jumped on her head. It then chased her.
"The squirrel went in with me to the exercise room where other women were and they were all screaming and hollering and trying to get the squirrel out of the room. It was a mess!" Phyllis laughed.
Doctors treated Phyllis and the other people who were bitten with antibiotics to prevent infection.
The last time a squirrel was diagnosed with rabies was 40 years ago, however they do carry bacteria. It was recently published in the journal Science that red squirrels in the UK carry a form of leprosy. However, the infection poses little threat to humans.
What does pose a threat is that the squirrels attacked Sterling Court seniors yet again. One week later, a woman was sent to the hospital when she fell and broke her wrist after being bitten.
Some experts feel attacks such as these are a matter of squirrels choosing "fight" over "flight", while others think it is a result of friendly humans feeding them. When a squirrel runs up to others and doesn't get the food they were expecting, it becomes frantic and bites.
Luckily, everyone is okay.