It’s not like we needed any evidence that rabies is still an active, deadly disease, but a recent ProMed-mail posting contains 16 different rabies notices. They include:
- An animal control worker who was bitten by a rabid, stray cat that was trapped by a person in Texas.
- Rabies exposure in an unvaccinated dog in Maryland, that resulted in euthanasia of the dog because the owners didn’t want to undertake the required 6 month quarantine for exposed, unvaccinated dogs. The dog was exposed to rabies virus while killing a raccoon.
- Diagnosis of rabies in two trapped raccoons in New Jersey.
- Rabies exposure in an Arizona woman who was attacked by a rabid fox while in her yard.
- More marauding (presumably rabid) foxes attacking people and dogs in Maine and South Carolina.
- Rabid bats and skunks in Colorado.
- A rabid fox in Alabama.
- Rabid raccoons in Virginia.
- A rabid raccoon attacking a vaccinated dog.
- Rabies exposure in people bitten or scratched by rabid stray kittens in New Jersey, Nebraska and Georgia.
Common themes or take home messages:
- Rabies is here (in most areas, at least) and it’s unfortunately not going away any time soon. We can reduce the number of affected animals and decrease the risk of exposure of people and domestic animals, however, with good prevention strategies.
- Vaccination of pets is a cheap and effective way of protecting them, and anyone they are in contact with.
- Keep pets away from wildlife.
- If you are bitten by a wild animal, you must consider it a potential rabies exposure unless the animal can be proven not to have rabies.
- If you see an animal that is acting strangely, stay away and call animal control.