Worms & Germs Blog

Tag Archives: bats

Rabies knowledge of vets and physicians

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Rabies
I spend a lot of time answering questions about rabies exposures, and sometimes trying to clear up misinformation. Rabies is a very important infectious disease but in many regions (like here) it’s fortunately rare in domestic animals and people. However, rarity can breed complacency or lack of (or loss of) knowledge. That creates problems when… Continue Reading

Bad headlines

Posted in Dogs, Other animals, Rabies
I realize headline writers are trying to attract attention, and sometimes they don’t know much about the content. As a result, some headlines are quite over the top, and that can freak people out. Here are some examples from the past couple of days: 4 year old girl catches life-threatening infection by trying on shoes… Continue Reading

Human rabies death, Delaware, US

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Other animals, Rabies, Vaccination
Human deaths from rabies are common in some developing countries (where tens of thousands die from canine rabies every year) but rare in developed countries. It’s an almost invariably fatal disease, but at the same time it’s almost completely preventable because of the quality of vaccines and post-exposure prophylaxis available. Getting those treatments to the… Continue Reading

Bat rabies death, Florida

Posted in Rabies
A couple times in the past few weeks, I’ve had questions along the lines of “Bat rabies isn’t really a big deal, is it?” and “How common in rabies in bats? It’s not really that common, right?” We don’t know how common rabies is in the bat population, since most testing of bats is sporadic… Continue Reading

New Guidance for Human Exposure to Rabies: Ontario

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Other animals, Rabies, Vaccination
This month, Public Health Ontario released a new Rabies Guidance Document for Healthcare Providers. It’s nothing particularly new but a good review of the recommended response to rabies exposure from various animal species, something that’s unfortunately often messed up or made more complicated than necessary. It includes some nice flowcharts, such as the one below. The full… Continue Reading

Bats, rabies and a hospital NICU

Posted in Rabies
When a bat is found in a household, the response can be quite variable.  Many public health units may consider it a potential rabies exposure if the bat was in the house overnight, on the assumption that a bite could have occurred without being noticed (I have personal experience with that).  Based on the large… Continue Reading

Human Rabies in Missouri

Posted in Rabies
The latest edition of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports describes a case of rabies in a Missouri man. Rabies is rare in people in the US, but it remains an ever-present risk because the virus circulates in various wildlife species. (This case seems to have been from 2014, but they missed some proofreading since… Continue Reading

More on MERS-CoV and the camel link

Posted in Other animals
MERS-CoV, the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, continues to cause infections (often fatal) and confusion. For a while now, there’s been speculation that camels are the source of this virus, based in part on how commonly antibodies against the virus (or a related virus) are found in healthy camels. It always seemed strange, though, for… Continue Reading

Rabies myth-busters 101: Cats and bats

Posted in Rabies
Rabies is a very serious disease.  We’re very lucky in Canada that in most parts of the country the prevalence of this disease is now quite low, in large part due to wildlife control and vaccination efforts.  Unfortunately that also seems to make some people quite lax when it comes to (common sense) things like… Continue Reading

Rabies three ways

Posted in Cats
Not many days go by when I don’t get a few calls about rabies. Here are a couple from yesterday that highlight some important issues. An indoor cat tangled with a bat. The bat’s no longer around to test so this is considered a potential rabies exposure (bats being important rabies vectors, and catching and… Continue Reading

From the archives…Why should I vaccinate Fluffy, he’s an indoor cat? (aka Why I’m glad I vaccinated Finnegan, my indoor cat)

Posted in Cats
Over the past few years, I’ve written a lot of posts on this blog. Hopefully the odd one’s been interesting and/or informative, and in the spirit of recycling (not laziness!) I’m going to re-post some that I thought were memorable or of particular interest. The first one is actually the second post ever on this site… Continue Reading

2012 US rabies recap

Posted in Dogs
It’s that time of year again… time for the US annual rabies surveillance report in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (Dyer et al 2013). Some highlights: There were 6162 cases of rabies diagnosed in animals in 2012. (This is a 2.1% increase from 2011, but I don’t put much stock into changes… Continue Reading

Irony…bad luck…rabies-magnet…pick your terminology

Posted in Dogs
The word "ironic” gets used a lot, often incorrectly. Alanis Morrissette’s hit song “Ironic” is a great example of this since she (ironically?) describes situations that aren’t really ironic, they just suck (i.e. winning the lottery and dying the next day isn’t ironic, it’s just bad luck). Anyway, irony doesn’t have much to do with… Continue Reading

More Queensland Hendra virus cases

Posted in Horses
While I guess it’s getting beyond the point where Hendra virus infections in horses in Queensland, Australia are considered "news," it’s still a highly concerning situation. Infections caused by this fruit bat-associated virus continue to occur in the region and there’s no sign that this problem is going to go away any time soon. In… Continue Reading

Latest round of rabies news

Posted in Cats
ProMed’s latest accumulation of rabies reports has the typical mix of domestic animal and wildlife rabies cases, and some recurring themes. Fox / dog / human, North Carolina In this case, a rabid fox had a "direct encounter" with several people, then it was killed by a dog. Three people have started post-exposure treatment. The… Continue Reading

Bat on a plane

Posted in Other animals
Don’t tell Samuel L. Jackson (Snakes on a Plane was bad enough), but on August 2011, a bat was found flying through the cabin of a plane shortly after take-off from Wisconsin. Failing to heed the seat belt sign, it flew around the cabin a few times before it was eventually trapped in a bathroom.… Continue Reading

More US bat rabies

Posted in Rabies
Following on the heels of a case of bat-associated rabies in a South Carolina woman, a Massachusetts man has contracted rabies. Little information is currently available, although authorities state that they believe he was exposed by a bat in his home. News reports state that he’s in critical condition but it’s unfortunately very unlikely that… Continue Reading

Human rabies in South Carolina

Posted in Other animals
A South Carolina woman has been identified as the first case of human rabies in the state in the past 50 years. Very little information has been released, including whether or not she is still alive. Unfortunately, the odds are quite low that she survived. Successful treatment of a Wisconsin girl in 2004 using a… Continue Reading

Bat cull for Hendra virus prevention?

Posted in Horses
As Australia faces a particularly bad year for Hendra virus, with possible expansion of the range of this serious disease, there have been calls for a mass cull of flying foxes (fruit bats).  These bats are the reservoir of the virus but also a protected species. The virus lives in the bats and is spread… Continue Reading

Human rabies, Michigan, 2009

Posted in Other animals
The latest edition of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports describes a case of rabies in a Michigan man from 2009. While human rabies in most developed countries is very rare, this is yet another reminder of the ever-present risk of rabies exposure in many regions, and the ongoing need to be proactive to avoid… Continue Reading

2009 US rabies recap

Posted in Dogs
2009 animal rabies statistics have recently been published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (Blanton et al 2010). Here are some highlights: 6690 rabid animals were identified, along with four human cases. (One of those human cases was associated with travel to India, as described as described in a recent post). Rabid… Continue Reading

Cats and bats and rabies

Posted in Cats
I had an advice call the other day about two cats that were found with a dead bat. One cat was vaccinated against something (not sure what or when) while the other cat was unvaccinated. This is a situation that, if managed properly, can be very minor, but if handled improperly, can be a major… Continue Reading

Rabies exposure results in 2 dead dogs

Posted in Dogs
The Galesburg Register Mail headline says "Dogs killed for eating rabid bat." It’s true, but the more accurate description would be "dogs euthanized because owners failed to vaccinate them." In yet another unfortunate outcome of failure to properly vaccinate pets, two dogs from Galesburg, Illinois were euthanized after being exposed to a rabid bat. They… Continue Reading