Wednesday, April 23, 2008


A couple of weeks ago we actually had a rabid dog at our clinic. It was a major fiasco. The state veterinarian told us there was no point in getting my staff treated for the exposure. physicians had any clue about what they needed to do for my staff. And nobody was willing to offer an opinion because they were afraid of the liability. This was very frustrating for all of us. Rabies is a deadly disease and all I got were people covering their own asses! It turns out my experience may have been typical:

Date: Wed 9 Apr 2008
Source: [edited]

Man bitten in attack by rabid fox
A Lake George man was bitten and scratched by a rabid fox Monday
night [7 Apr 2008] as he attempted to fend off repeated attacks while
he and his fiancee walked up the steps to their 2nd-floor apartment.
Later that night, the fox repeatedly bit the right front tire of an
SUV driven by a responding officer with the state Department of
Environmental Conservation. It was the 1st confirmed case this year
[2008] of a rabid animal attack in Warren County.

The couple, both 23, had exited their car behind their garage
apartment on state Route 9, between Warrensburg and the village of
Lake George, at about 10 p.m., with the woman walking ahead of the
man up the 10 steps of the back stairs. "We both heard something. We
turned around. Right behind our back tire was a fox, not even 5 feet
away," she said Wednesday [9 Apr 2008]. "I started screaming really,
really loud. [My fiance] started kicking to get him to go away," she
said. "It just kept coming back and attacking him. It seemed like
forever, but in reality it was probably 3 minutes."

The man was bitten and scratched on the left ankle as he tried to
keep the advancing animal away from his fiancee. At 1st, he said, he
thought the attacking gray fox was a cat and he kept pushing the
animal back down the stairs with his feet and yelling to his fiance
to get inside. "It didn't really hurt," Bishop said. "I still think I
won that fight. I just kept kicking him in the face. He got up and
ran back. I wasn't kicking him that hard, though. I'm not a mean person."

Once in the apartment, the couple closed the door and peered through
a nearby window to see the animal. "When we slammed the door, you
could see the fox trying to get in," the man said. His mother, who
had earlier walked to the apartment from her home next door to take
care of the couple's 2-year-old daughter, called 9-1-1. About 25
minutes later, the couple had another close call when they decided to
open the door to see if it was safe for the mother to walk home. An
outdoor floodlight, which goes on when there is movement in the yard,
had turned off, and he said they believed the animal had left the
area. But it hadn't.

"Right when we opened the door, the fox ran up the stairs again," she
said. She went to close the door, but a loose shoe kept the door from
closing and allowed the fox to stick its snout through the opening
before the door could be shut all the way.

The woman said the attack left blood and scratches on the door. "It
felt like we were being hunted," she said. When Environmental
Conservation Officer George LaPoint arrived on the scene at about
11:20 p.m., the fox ran down the apartment stairs toward his vehicle.
LaPoint estimated that the animal attacked one tire on his SUV
between 7 and 10 times, apparently biting it each time. LaPoint drove
back and forth in the driveway and tried to use his handgun to shoot
the fox from the driver's side window. But the fox remained elusive
and kept darting between the vehicle, the stairs and the woods, he
said. Eventually, the fox was hit and killed by the SUV's
undercarriage. But the animal's brain, which is used in rabies
testing, remained intact. LaPoint said the fox was the most
aggressive animal he has encountered in his 9 years as a conservation
officer. "This was a 4- or 5-pound animal attacking a 3000-pound
vehicle," he said.

The Warren County Department of Public Health expedited testing of
the fox in a state lab in Albany on Tuesday [8 Apr 2008], said
Ginelle Jones, the department's assistant director. Health officials
notified the man later Tuesday that the animal had tested positive
for rabies. That same day, he began treatment for the disease, which
involves a series of shots administered in his ankle, arms and upper
hip in 5 sessions over a 25-day period.

[Byline: Bob Condon]

Communicated by:

Date: Wed 9 Apr 3009
Source: [edited]

A Polk County family's dog has been confirmed to be infected with rabies
The family, living on Highway 71 near Hatfield, says the dog became
ill around 1 or 2 Apr 2008 and was aggressive and biting. It
progressively became worse until it was euthanized and submitted for
rabies testing on Fri 4 Apr 2008.

Anyone who was bitten by a dog in the area should contact the Polk
Co. Health Unit in Mena at (479) 394-2707. The dog ran free and was
unvaccinated. The dog had killed a skunk several weeks earlier.
Authorities say that skunk undoubtedly was rabid and was the source
of rabies to the dog. Other dogs, cats, horses, cattle in the area
could also have been bitten by the rabid skunk.

Rabies is a virus that attacks the brain and spinal cord and is a
fatal disease. It is most often seen in animals such as skunks, bats,
and foxes. Cats, dogs, ferrets and livestock can also develop rabies,
especially if they are not vaccinated.

In 2007, Arkansas had 33 rabies positive animals, including 23
skunks, 7 bats, one cow, one fox and one dog. So far in 2008, the
state has had 8 skunks, one bat, one goat, and now 2 dogs test
positive for rabies. One of the skunks also was in Polk Co. but in Mena.

The 1st sign of rabies in an animal is usually a change in behavior.
Rabid animals may attack people or other animals for no reason, or
they may lose their fear of people and seem unnaturally friendly.
Staggering, convulsions, choking, frothing at the mouth and paralysis
are often present.

Skunks may be seen out in daylight, which is an unusual behavior for
them, or they may get into a dog pen or under a house. Many animals
have a marked change in voice pitch, such as a muted or off-key tone.
An animal usually dies within one week of demonstrating signs of
rabies. Not all rabid animals act in these ways, however, so you
should avoid all wild animals, especially skunks, bats and stray cats and dogs.

If you think you have become exposed to an animal with rabies wash
your wound thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention
immediately. Contact your physician and county health unit
immediately and report the incident. The animal in question should be
captured, if possible, without damaging its head or risking further exposure.

All dogs and cats in Arkansas are required to be vaccinated against
rabies yearly by a licensed veterinarian. This not only protects the
animal, but also acts as a barrier between the wildlife exposures of
rabies and people, as our pets are more likely to be exposed to a
rabid skunk directly than we are. Children especially should be
reminded not to touch wild animals and to stay away from stray pets.

If an apparently healthy domesticated dog or cat bites a person, it
must be captured, confined and observed daily for 10 days following
the bite. If the animal remains healthy during this period of time,
it did not transmit rabies at the time of the bite. The brain tissue
of all wild animals must be tested for rabies if human exposure has occurred.

What can we do to protect ourselves against rabies?
- Be sure your dogs, cats and ferrets are up-to-date on their rabies
- Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals
- Keep family pets indoors at night
- Bat-proof your home or summer camp in the fall or winter (The
majority of human rabies cases are caused by bat bites.)
- Encourage children to immediately tell an adult if any animal bites them
- Teach children to avoid wildlife, strays, and all other animals
they do not know well

Report all animal bites or contact with wild animals to the Polk
County Local Health Unit. Do not let any animal escape that has
possibly exposed someone to rabies. Depending on the species, an
animal can be observed or tested for rabies in order to avoid the
need for rabies treatment.

[Byline: Arkansas Dept. of Health]

Communicated by:

Datw: Thu 10 Apr 2008
Source: [edited]

Pinal issues county-wide rabies advisory
The Pinal County Public Health Services District is issuing an
advisory for animal rabies to all residents of Pinal County. On 31
Mar 2008, a bobcat bagged in the Peppersauce campgrounds near Oracle
tested positive for rabies at the Arizona State Public Health
Laboratory. The bobcat attacked and exposed at least 2 individuals at
the campsite. Both individuals are currently receiving a series of
shots to prevent contracting the rabies virus.

Anyone who has been at this campsite recently and had physical
contact with a bobcat should contact the Pinal County Public Health
Services District at (520) 866-7347 immediately to determine whether
treatment is needed.

This is the 5th animal to test positive in Pinal County in 2008. The
identification of rabid animals statewide serves as a reminder of the
potential for rabies in wild animals in Arizona. Rabies is an
infectious disease that affects the nervous system, including the
brain and spinal cord of animals and humans. It is caused by a virus
present in the saliva of infected animals and is transmitted to
humans through contact with the live virus. Rabies is fatal to humans
once symptoms appear. There has not been a documented case of human
rabies in Pinal County for decades.

While human exposures to rabid animals are rare, family pets are more
often exposed to wild animals, including wild animals that are rabid.
Vaccination against rabies is available through your veterinarian or
Pinal County Animal Care and Control. This will prevent them from
getting rabies if exposed to a rabid animal. If unvaccinated
household pets come in contact with a rabid animal, the pet must be
put to sleep to eliminate risk to humans or other animals.

"When the family dog gets into a fight with a skunk or the cat brings
a bat home, that family pet is at risk of getting rabies," said Pinal
County Public Health Director Tom Schryer. "We need to consider this
risk in public health. If it is possible that the family pet could
get rabies and give it to a family member, animal care andcontrol
agencies have no choice but to remove that pet from the home.
Unfortunately, the majority of household pets identified with
exposures to rabid animals in 2007 were not vaccinated and needed to
be put to sleep. A simple shot at the vet's office could have
protected both these animals from rabies."

Feel free to contact Pinal County Animal Care and Control for more
information concerning rabies vaccination for pets and vaccination
clinic times and locations at (520) 509-3555 or toll free at (888)
431-1311. While rabies can occur in animals anywhere in the county,
in the last few years the southern and eastern portions of the county
have had the most activity. Rabies is found mainly in wild animals
such as bats, skunks, foxes, raccoons, bobcats and coyotes.
Unvaccinated cats, dogs and livestock can also become infected with
rabies if they are bitten by rabid wild animals. Rodents such as
rats, mice, gerbils, guinea pigs and squirrels are not likely to be
infected with rabies. Wild animals exhibiting unusual behavior should
be reported to local animal control officials. The best way to
protect yourself and your family is to avoid touching, handling, or
adopting wild or stray animals.

The 1st sign of rabies is usually a change in the animal's behavior.
Animals may act more aggressive or more tame than usual. Animals
usually active at night such as skunks, foxes and bats may be out
during the day. Rabid animals may appear agitated and excited or
paralyzed and frightened. Sometimes, rabid animals do not show any
signs of illness before death from rabies. That is why contact with
wild animals should always be avoided.

Pinal County Public Health Officials recommend the following
precautions: Keep people and pets away from wild animals. Do not pick
up, touch or feed wild or unfamiliar animals, especially sick or
wounded ones. If someone has been bitten or scratched, or has had
contact with the animal, report it immediately to animal control or
health officials. Do not "rescue" seemingly abandoned young wild
animals. Usually, the mother will return. If the mother is dead or
has not returned in many hours, call the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Vaccinate all dogs and cats against rabies. Pets should be kept in a
fenced yard. Take precautions when camping, hunting or fishing. Avoid
sleeping on the open ground without the protection of a closed tent
or camper. Keep pets on a leash and do not allow them to wander.

Do not disturb roosting bats. If you find a bat on the ground, don't
touch it. Report the bat and its location to your local animal
control officer or health department. Place a box over the bat to
contain it. Be careful not to damage the bat in any way since it must
be intact for rabies testing.

For more information about rabies, call the Pinal County Public
Health Services District at (520) 866-7347, or the Arizona Department
of Health Services at (602) 364-4562.

Communicated by:

Date: Thu 10 Apr 2008
Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press onllne [edited]

Fox attack shows need to prevent rabies
A bite from a rabid fox in Whitfield County, GA, underscores the need
to aggressively combat the deadly disease, officials in Georgia and
Tennessee say. Chad Mulkey, environmental county manager in Whitfield
for the North Georgia Health District, said the attack illustrates
how development crowds wild animals and humans closer together. Mr.
Mulkey wasn't surprised Jimmy Cooper encountered a fox near his home
last week [31 Mar - 4 Apr 2008]. "Up there where this bite occurred,
I'd say the habitat being destroyed is what pushed this fox out," Mr.
Mulkey said. He said raccoons, skunks and bats also are primary
carriers of rabies.

Whitfield County wasn't included last fall [2007] when vaccine-laden
baits were put out in Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia to
battle the spread of rabies in wild animals. "Baits are typically
used to create a buffer between a population that has rabies and a
population that doesn't have rabies," Mr. Mulkey said.

Tennessee Public Health veterinarian John Dunn said the raccoon
strain of rabies, which can be transmitted to other species and
appears to be moving west, "is the reason for the baiting." Oral
vaccine baits scattered by hand and dropped from planes last fall
targeted raccoons and skunks, according to USDA Wildlife Services
reports. The program started in Tennessee in 2002 and Georgia in
2003. In Southeast Tennessee, 340 345 baits were dropped in the
10-county area, according to National Rabies Management Program
reports. In Northwest Georgia counties west of Whitfield, 89 560
baits were dropped, reports state.

The disease usually is spread to humans through the bite of a rabid
animal, but is occasionally transmitted by infected material such as
saliva, officials said. Mr. Dunn said bats are a special case because
their teeth are so small a bite might not be noticed. "Most of the
human cases we've had over the last 20 years have been associated
with bat rabies," he said, noting pets can be infected just as
easily. Pets that are vaccinated create another barrier between wild
animals and humans, because rabid pets are certain to come in contact
with their owners, he said.

Mr. Dunn said while skunks are a common carrier, larger animals such
as raccoons and foxes are more dangerous when they get rabies because
they are more aggressive and have little fear of people or pets. Mr.
Cooper, a retired salvage yard owner who lives near the
Whitfield-Murray county line at the Tennessee border, said his
neighbor called him last week saying a fox was trying to jump through
their screen door. "It was jumping up at them, trying to bite them
through the door," he said. The fox retreated under the porch before
Mr. Cooper got there, then "came out trying to bite me in the face,"
he said. "I got back up kicking at it, and kicked it a couple of
licks. Finally, it jumped up and bit me right above the belt line."
Mr. Cooper got a gun from his house, shot the animal and turned it
over to authorities. Now he is taking a series of injections, which
he says are not painful, to stave off the disease. Rabies is nearly
always fatal once symptoms develop, officials said. Mr. Cooper said
he never worried about wild animals before.

Mr. Mulkey said Whitfield, like many counties, offers low-cost rabies
vaccine clinics every year to keep pets safe and to remove them as a
link in spreading the disease. And a vaccinated pet doesn't have to
be killed for testing if it bites someone, he said. Vaccinated pets
can be held for 10 days so officials can watch for rabies symptoms, he said.

Rabies poses a serious health risk that's easily preventable, Mr.
Mulkey said. "People sometimes don't take it seriously enough," he
said. "It's an ounce of prevention kind of thing."

Some rabies facts:
- Exposure occurs from direct contact with infected central nervous
system tissue or saliva.
- Rabies virus can't penetrate unbroken skin or survive on an animal's fur.
- A pet exposed to rabies does not become a danger to its owners
until it becomes ill.
- Bats can bite unnoticed. Anyone exposed to an infected bat should
see a doctor.

[Source: Georgia Division of Public Health. N.B. A list of the number
of baits applied in each county has been omitted from this
transcript. - Mod.CP]

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