I’m taking a Brucella break to post a few interesting rabies stories.

More rabies in Nunavut

A rabies warning was issued to residents of Taloyoak, Nunavut in response to identification of rabies in “a number” of dogs and foxes (I’m not sure what that number is).

This isn’t really new, as Arctic fox rabies is an ongoing endemic concern in northern Canada, including all of the territories. But it’s also an issue for other areas in Canada, because dogs are periodically shipped from Nunavut to southern regions. Vaccination rates are more variable in remote communities due to accessibility and population control issues, increasing the risk that rabies in the wildlife population could spillover into the dogs. Multiple dogs with rabies have been moved out of Nunavut to multiple provinces in the past.

Skunk bite means rabies exposure

Skunks are a natural rabies reservoir in some regions, as an Arizona man found out recently. He was bitten by a skunk, which was subsequently determined to be rabid. Why, exactly, he was close enough to a skunk to be bitten is another question, and one that wasn’t evident in the news articles I saw. I don’t think people need a reason beyond getting sprayed to stay away from skunks, but rabies is another good one.

Rabies exposure costs more than a new car

…depending on the type of car. A woman was bitten by a stray kitten she was trying to feed outside Everglades National Park (take home message #1: stay away from wildlife and stray animals). She underwent post-exposure prophylaxis at a local hospital, only to later recieve a rather shocking bill of $48 512 (no, I didn’t misplace a decimal point). $46,222 of that was for the single immunoglobulin (antibody) injection she received. I don’t understand the US healthcare system, but that seems more than a little crazy. It seems even crazier based on a statement that the cost would have “only” been $9900 if she was bitten a couple of months later, after the hospital lowered its price. I guess someone made a nice profit off her rabies exposure.

Rabies exposure from a goat

Goats aren’t at the forefront of species I think about when someone says rabies, but like any other mammal, it can happen. A big concern about rabies in goats is the fact that they sometimes get handled by a lot of people. Recently, a rabid goat was identified in South Carolina, resulting in potential exposure of 9 people.