Friends, when you are traveling in Arizona or New Mexico (or anywhere, really) where there are prairie dogs, do not play with them. They may look cute, but in reality they are disgusting, disease-mongering vermin who deserve to be shunned. If you insist on playing with these nasty creatures, you may contract the bubonic plague. Yes, the plague, which wiped out most of Europe several hundred years ago. The Black Plague, which is still 50% fatal if you contract the pneumonic form. So, if you play with prairie dogs on vacation, then go home and start feeling "flu-like" symptoms, be sure you tell your doctor where you traveled so you can get the right antibiotics pronto.
In case the above isn't nerdy enough, this article discusses the link between resistance to Yersinia pestis and the HIV virus, which scientists may be able to exploit in future HIV prevention/treatment research.
Yes, this is how I spend my Sunday evenings.