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The federal government has banned the sale of large African rodents that may be the source of the monkeypox virus that has infected prairie dogs.

An Alabama health official said such a ban is not necessary in the state. Associate state Veterinarian Doctor Terry Slaten said state law is clear, non-native wildlife cannot be sold in Alabama.

Slaten says the majority of Alabamians have little to fear in relation to the monkeypox spread by prairie dogs.

The Centers for Disease Control said monkeypox-infected prairie dogs from a place in Illinois might have been sold to "numerous buyers" in 15 states since April 15.

Federal health officials confirm nine cases of human exposure to the virus and suspect dozens more cases. NO one has died from the disease. Smallpox vaccine can be used to protect humans from

Slaten says unfortunately, some people purchase exotic animals as pets and later release them into the wild which could expose native animals to exotic diseases.