05:42 PM ET 06/19/99 Tumors Plague Squirrels in Florida Tumors Plague Squirrels in Florida WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ Squirrels riddled with crusty brown tumors _ some covering 90 percent of their body _ have been reported in eight Florida counties in a pox outbreak experts said is the worst since the 1970s. Between 300 and 500 of the squirrels have popped up in the backyards of residential neighborhoods, said pathologists studying the epidemic at the University of Florida. The scientists believe thousands more are infected with the disease, which is specific to squirrels and cannot be contracted by other wildlife, pets or humans. Transmitted by mosquitoes, the disease almost always attacks the eyes, leaving its little victims blind and unable to plunder bird feeders. The pox leaves the squirrels' eyes swollen ``as big as marbles,'' Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission biologist Timothy Regan said. The animals eventually starve to death or die from bacteria-infecting tumors. There is no treatment or preventive vaccine.