Saturday, May 29, 2010


A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

In this update:
[1] Aurora, Colorado
[2] Palm City, Martin County Florida
[3] Detroit suburb of Royal Oak, Michigan
[4] Piscataway, Middlesex county, New Jersey
[5] Royal Oak and Southfield, Oakland county Michigan
[6] Howell County, Missouri; Oregon County, Missouri
[7] Marion County, Florida
[8] Henry County, Virginia
[9] Windsor area, California

[1] Aurora, Colorado
Date: 13 May 2010
Source: Aurora Sentinel [edited]

Another case of rabies indicates larger problem, health officials say
County health officials have confirmed that a skunk that was shot and
killed 5 May 2010 on private property in Adams County on was infected
with rabies. The resident of the property shot the skunk after seeing
the animal exhibiting abnormal behavior. There was no known human or
animal exposure to the disease.

This was the 3rd confirmed case of rabies in the last 2 months,
according to the Tri-County Health Department. On 15 Mar 2010, health
officials confirmed that a skunk near Parker was infected with rabies
and on 9 Apr 2010 a horse that died in eastern Arapahoe County was
also confirmed to have the disease. The horse had been exposed to
local skunk populations and 8 people risked exposure during the
incident and had to receive vaccinations (post-exposure prophylaxis).

Health Department Executive Director Richard Vogt said the cases
confirm that rabies is spreading through the skunk population in
rural areas and that it is moving closer to the metro area.

"The nature of rabies is that it actually kind of moves in over a
period of several years. After it starts to move in it sticks around
for many years, unfortunately. It becomes a longer range problem," he

"It is more important than ever that pets stay current on their
vaccinations. That is the easiest way to control the problem in the
Denver Area," said Cheryl Conway, a spokeswoman with the city of
Aurora Animal Care Division.

Vogt also recommended that horse and cattle owners talk to their
veterinarians about livestock vaccinations.

Anyone who thinks they have seen an animal infected with rabies is
asked to contact the Aurora Animal Care Division or their local
animal control agency.

[Byline: Caddie Nath]

Communicated by:

[2] Palm City, Martin County Florida

Date: 24 May 2010
Source: TC [edited]

Palm City bobcat 1st Martin County rabies case this year
A bobcat that scratched a horse last week has tested positive for
rabies. The horse will be placed in quarantine for 6 months.

The attack occurred on 21 May 2010 on Cherokee Street. This is the
1st case of rabies in Martin County this year. Last year [2009], 3
animals tested positive for rabies, including a bobcat, a raccoon and
a fox.

Rabies is a virus that is transmitted from the bite or scratch of a
rabid animal. Any mammal can get rabies. The most common carriers of
rabies are raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes and coyotes. Domestic
mammals can also get rabies. Cats are the most frequently reported
rabid domestic animal in the United States.

Communicated by:

[3] Detroit suburb of Royal Oak, Michigan
Date: 18 May 2010
Source: WDIV Detroit [edited]

2nd Skunk Tests Positive For Rabies in Oakland County
Authorities are advising pet owners to vaccinate their pets and
remain on guard after 2 skunks captured in a Detroit suburb tested
positive for rabies. The most recent skunk that tested positive for
rabies was found near 12 Mile and Woodward Avenue.

Larry Obrecht, division manager for Oakland County Animal Control,
said a positive test on an animal like the ones recently trapped in
Royal Oak and later euthanized is not unusual. He told The Daily
Tribune of Royal Oak that skunks, bats and raccoons are carriers of
the untreatable disease that affects the central nervous system and
brain, causing malaise then abnormally hyperactive behavior.

Obrecht said pet owners should call animal control officials if they
see nocturnal animals acting unusually during the day. He said
parents also should talk to children about staying away from wild

Communicated by:

[4] Piscataway, Middlesex county, New Jersey
Date: 25 May 2010
Source: NJ Today [edited]

Rabid Raccoon Found In Piscataway
The Middlesex County Public Health Department is reporting that a
raccoon tested positive for rabies in Piscataway, in the vicinity of
River Road and Maplehurst Lane.

This is the 9th rabid animal reported within Middlesex County for
2010 and the 1st rabid animal reported in the municipality of

On 20 May 2010, the Piscataway Animal Control Officer responded to a
report that a raccoon was observed on a resident's property. The
resident reported that the raccoon fought with and was subsequently
killed by the resident's pet dog. The raccoon was sent to the New
Jersey State Department of Health Laboratory for testing and it was
reported today that the animal tested positive for rabies.

The resident's pet dog was up to date on its rabies vaccination. As a
precaution, the Middlesex County Public Health Department advised the
owners to consult with a veterinarian to receive a booster
vaccination and to place the dog under a 45-day observation period.
The owners of the dog also were advised to speak to a physician
regarding exposure to the animal. Additionally, the department is
distributing rabies advisory flyers and fact sheets in the area.

The Middlesex County Public Health Department continues to monitor
rabies cases within the County. Residents should report wild animals
showing signs of unusual behavior to their local Animal Control
Officer. Additionally, it is recommended that residents should avoid
contact with wild animals and immediately report any bites from wild
or domestic animals to your local health department and consult a
physician as soon as possible. Finally, be sure that all family pets
are up to date on their rabies vaccinations and licenses.

Communicated by:

[5] Royal Oak and Southfield, Oakland county Michigan
Date: 23 May 2010
Source: Home Town Life [edited]

Local rabies cases prompt call for caution
Recent cases of rabies -- 1 each in Royal Oak and Southfield -- are
prompting the Oakland County Animal Control Division to remind pet
owners to have their pets vaccinated against the disease, and for
residents to be cautious around wild or stray animals.

A skunk found in the City of Royal Oak was tested 14 May 2010 for
rabies after it displayed neurological signs common to the disease.
The Oakland County Animal Control Division was notified 17 May 2010
that the skunk tested positive for rabies.

Another recent case involved a dog in the Southfield area that
returned home with an injury, became ill and had to be euthanized.
The dog tested positive for a rabies strain found in skunks.

Rabies is an infectious disease that affects the nervous system of
humans and other mammals, according to the Oakland County Health
Division. People and unvaccinated animals get rabies from the bite of
an infected animal, or if saliva from the animal gets directly into a
person's eyes, nose, mouth or any break in the skin. The vaccine is
given to at-risk individuals to prevent the disease.

Rabies is nearly always fatal if not treated after exposure.

"This is why it is so important to have your family pets vaccinated
for rabies," said Lawrence Obrecht, division manager of Oakland
County Animal Control. "Cats, dogs and even horses have the potential
of coming into contact with wild life. Skunks and bats are known
carriers of rabies and should be avoided. Keeping your pets' vaccines
up-to-date ensures your pet is protected."

For more information about rabies, visit the Oakland County Health
Division website at .

Communicated by:

[6] Howell County, Missouri; Oregon County, Missouri
Date: 26 May 2010
Source: Area Wide news [edited]

Rabid skunks continue to be found in the Ozarks region
Arkansas and Missouri health officials are on alert as rabies cases
in both states begin to rise. The most recent cases reported in both
states occurred in skunks

Howell County Health Department officials have confirmed a 9th case
of rabies within the county this year, just 4 miles west of West
Plains. The rabid skunk had exposed the virus to 3 vaccinated dogs,
which are now being kept in a 45-day quarantine.

In Oregon County, Oregon County Health Department Administrator
Sheila Russell says only one case, also involving a skunk, has been
reported so far, but residents need to take precautions to prevent
exposure of a loved one or family pet.

"This is a problem with a very simple solution -- vaccinate your
pets," said Russell. "We can't control the wild animals that share
our country living with us, but we can protect our families and our
pets by having them vaccinated. If someone does get bitten, the costs
for treatment can run from USD 600-700, where a rabies shot for your
pet is less than USD 20."

Russell pointed out that if your animal became infected and bit
someone else, you would be left holding the bill for their medical
treatment. "You are responsible for your animal," said Russell. "Take
advantage of our scheduled clinics, or make an appointment today to
get your animals vaccinated. When it comes down to it, like the old
saying says, 'An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.'"

Rabies is a viral disease of mammals and is transmitted primarily
through bites. Annually, 7000 to 8000 rabid animals are detected in
the United States, with more than 90 percent of the cases in wild
animals. Rabies is found naturally in Missouri, occurring primarily
in bats and skunks, although other animals are also found rabid each
year, including domestic species such as dogs, cats, horses and

Although rabies is transmitted to humans almost entirely through
bites from rabid animals, contamination of open wounds or mucous
membranes with saliva or nervous tissue from a rabid animal could
potentially constitute an exposure. Rabies in humans is almost
invariably fatal. Fortunately, human deaths in the United States have
become relatively rare because: (1) effective vaccinations have been
available for dogs and cats since the 1950s, (2) public health
practices such as animal quarantine and testing are aggressively
pursued, and (3) improved anti-rabies shots have been developed for
persons exposed to rabies.

Tragically, in 2008, a human rabies fatality occurred in Missouri in
an individual who did not seek medical advice or treatment following
a bat bite. Before this, the last human rabies infection in the state
was reported in 1959.

Effective rabies vaccines are available for dogs, cats, ferrets,
sheep, cattle, and horses. Vaccination of cats and dogs is crucial,
since vaccinated pets are a protective barrier between the people who
own and interact with them and rabid wild animals with which the pets
might have contact.

Dogs and cats whose owners consider them to be "indoor animals"
should also be vaccinated because these pets often have exposures to
other animals, either by the dog or cat being unintentionally
released to the outdoors, or by wild animals such as bats getting
into the house. Vaccinations must be administered by a licensed
veterinarian. Primary and booster vaccinations should be obtained in
accordance with recommendations from licensed veterinarians and in
accordance with local animal control ordinances. There is no
post-exposure treatment available for animals as there is for humans.

The incubation period of rabies in people is also variable (depending
upon factors such as the site and severity of the bite), but averages
3 to 8 weeks. Following an exposure to rabies, there is normally a
window of opportunity (usually measured in days) in which the patient
can receive a series of shots to keep him/her from developing
disease. Once symptoms begin, the outcome is almost always death.

Early symptoms of rabies often include sensory changes at the site of
the bite (numbness or tingling), fever, headache, and a general
feeling of discomfort. As the infection progresses, the patient may
exhibit excitability, anxiety, aerophobia (abnormal aversion to air
in motion), and hydrophobia (abnormal fear of water). Other
neurological symptoms may include mental confusion, paralysis,
delirium, and convulsions. Without medical intervention, death
usually occurs within 2 to 6 days.

With medical intervention, the course of disease may be prolonged to
several weeks before death ensues. The diagnosis of rabies in humans
may be complicated since other diseases that affect the brain produce
similar symptoms. Diagnosis is also difficult in the early stages of
disease when tests for rabies may not yet be positive. Specimens
obtained for testing include saliva, blood, cerebral spinal fluid,
and biopsied nerve tissue.

The following actions should be taken if a person is bitten or
otherwise possibly exposed to a rabid animal:

Domestic animals: Identify and, if possible, confine the biting
animal. Dogs, cats, and ferrets may be quarantined for 10 days (if
healthy and depending on other circumstances), or they may be
euthanized and tested for rabies. Other domestic animals are handled
on a case-by-case basis.

Wild animals: Identify and, if possible, confine the biting animal
for rabies testing. No quarantine period is recognized for wild

After being bitten, wash the wound immediately and thoroughly with
soap and water for 10 to 15 minutes. Consult with a physician to: (1)
check the tetanus immunization status, (2) determine if antibiotic
treatment is needed for bacterial infection, (3) determine if other
medical procedures are necessary, such as sutures in the case of
disfiguring wounds, and (4) have a rabies risk assessment
accomplished, including determining if the anti-rabies series of
shots is warranted.

There is a lot that Missourians can do to prevent a rabies infection.

* Ensure dogs and cats are up-to-date on rabies vaccinations.
Vaccinations are also available for ferrets, horses, cattle and
sheep. The effectiveness of animal vaccines is the main reason for
the nationwide decline in rabies cases among people and domestic

* Keep pets under control; do not allow them to run loose.

* Avoid contact with stray pets and wild animals; do not keep wild
animals or wild animal crosses as pets.

* Report wild animals exhibiting unusual behavior or stray pets to
animal control officials.

Children suffer a disproportionate number of bites from animals,
often resulting in serious injury to the face, head and neck. The
following tips can help children avoid being bitten, and the
resulting physical/mental trauma and potential exposure to rabies and
other diseases that accompany bites:

* Never touch unfamiliar or wild animals. Enjoy wild animals from afar.

* Avoid direct contact with stray animals. Stray cats and dogs may
not have been vaccinated against rabies.

* Never adopt wild animals or bring them into the home.

* Do not try to nurse sick animals back to health. It is common to
want to rescue and nurse a hurt wild animal, but that animal may have
rabies. Ask an adult to call an animal control officer or animal
rescue group for help with the sick animal.

* Make sure that trash cans and pet foods are secured so that they do
not attract wild animals.

* Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.

* If bitten, report the bite to an adult immediately.

[Byline: Niki de Soto]

Communicated by:

[7] Marion County, Florida
Date: 27 May 2010
Source: [edited]

Rabies alerts issued in Marion County
The Marion County Health Department has issued 2 rabies alerts for
different parts of the county.

One is for a location centered around Northeast 310th Avenue and Lake
George. That alert is in response to a positive laboratory result
from a raccoon. The other involves a rabid horse. That alert location
is centered off Northwest 90th Avenue just south of County Road 318.

Residents in the area are advised to:

- Avoid contact with free roaming domestic or wild animals.

- Not leave pet food outside

- Secure outside garbage in covered containers.

- Contact veterinarian to make sure dogs, cats and ferrets have
current rabies vaccination.

Communicated by:

[8] Henry County, Virginia
Date: 28 May 2010
Source: Martinsville Bulletin [edited]

County woman bitten by rabid fox
Tests have confirmed that a fox that bit a woman in the Preston area
of Henry County on Tuesday [25 May 2010] was rabid, the
Henry/Martinsville Health Department said Thursday [27 May 2010].

The woman, who was not identified, was bitten on the foot, according
to a news release. Her dog was also bitten by the fox during the
incident, the release said.

The fox was killed by the victim's neighbor and sent to the state
laboratory in Richmond for rabies testing, the release said. The
health department received the test results Thursday confirming that
the fox was infected with rabies.

Anyone who knows of or suspects any contact by humans or domestic
animals with this fox is asked to contact Henry County Animal Control.

The victim has begun rabies post-exposure treatment, according to the
release. It did not contain information about her dog.

Prevention is the key to limiting the spread of this disease, the
release said. It offered these tips as the best ways to prevent the
spread of rabies from animals to humans:

- Vaccinate all dogs, cats and ferrets by 4 months of age by a
licensed veterinarian, as required by law.

- Enjoy wildlife at a distance.

- Secure your yard and home.

- Do not allow your animals to roam free.

- Avoid contact with stray animals.

- If you are bitten or exposed to rabies, wash the wound thoroughly
with lots of warm water and soap and seek medical attention

For more information, visit

Communicated by:

[9] Windsor area, California
Date: 27 May 2010
Source: The Press Democrat [edited]

Rabid fox attacks Windsor-area residents
An aggressive wild fox that was killed Sunday [23 May 2010] after it
bit several people and pets near Windsor tested positive for rabies
this week, local public health officials said. The fox was 1st
spotted Sunday morning and had 4 separate encounters that day with
residents and pets in a small area near the intersection of Arata
Lane and Brooks Road, just north of Windsor.

Mark Netherda, the county's deputy public health officer, said the
fox is the 1st animal to test positive for rabies in the county since
October 2008, when a bat was found to have the disease. "It was
shot," said Netherda. "It started that morning and the fox was killed
by early afternoon." A total of 8 people had contact with the fox,
and at least 2 of them were bitten by it, he said, adding that the
fox kept running at people and attacking.

"It wasn't clear after the events were over -- people found marks
that they couldn't say were not bites," he said. "We think that at
least 2 individuals were probably bitten."

Sonoma County Animal Care and Control has quarantined several pets
that encountered the fox.

Netherda said the incident is not an indication that rabies is on the
rise in the county, but it is a reminder that rabies is always
present in local wildlife, particularly among bats, raccoons, skunks
and foxes.

"Never assume an animal is not rabid. Including feral cats," Netherda
said. Netherda said those who were bitten have received medical

"Based on what we know of the contacts and the medical evaluation
that they've had, there's no reason to think there will be any
long-term consequence to any of these individuals," he said.

Netherda said the incident is a reminder for people to have their
pets vaccinated against rabies. "If an unvaccinated pet is bitten by
an animal that is determined to have rabies the recommendation is to
euthanize the pet," he said. Otherwise, he said the pet must be kept
"double-locked quarantine" for 6 months at the owner's expense.

For more information about rabies please go to the Sonoma County
Animal Control website:

[Byline: Martin Espinoza]

Communicated by:

[In each of these cases there are some central truths:

Rabies is a fatal disease.

The best way to prevent the disease is:

- Make sure your pets are up to date with their rabies vaccinations.

- Do not feed or handle wild animals. If you see an animal acting strangely.

- If you get bitten by an animal, wash the wound with soap and water
for at least 5 minutes and see a doctor.

- Do not touch dead animals with bare hands. Use gloves to remove and
dispose of the animal properly.

- Never handle a wild animal like a bat, raccoon, skunk or fox.

- Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or
domestic, even if they appear friendly.

- Prevent bats and raccoons from entering homes or spaces where
people and pets may be present.

- Keep vaccinations current for dogs, cats and ferrets. Keep cats and
ferrets inside and dogs under direct supervision. Consider having
your pets spayed or neutered.

- Keep vaccinations current for horses and other hoofed stock pets.

- If bitten by a wild/stray animal, quarantine the animal if
possible. Call the local animal control to assist with trapping,
testing and/or observation of the animal. Animal control may also
assist with removing stray or wild animals from your yard, home or
neighborhood regardless of a bite.

- Wash animal bites thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical
attention immediately. - Mod.TG]

[see also:
Rabies, animal - USA (03): (TX, NY) feline, raccoon, human exp. 20100514.1569
Rabies, wildlife - USA (08): (VA) fox, raccoon 20100512.1542
Rabies, feline, canine, bat - USA: (NC, IL) 20100509.1519
Rabies, animal - USA (02): wildlife, canine, equine 20100503.1434
Rabies, wildlife - USA (07): fox, raccoon 20100429.1385
Rabies, wildlife - USA (06): (AZ) 20100425.1339
Rabies, feline, bat - USA: (FL) 20100418.1264
Rabies, equine - USA: (CO) 20100417.1242
Rabies, bat, human - USA: (IN), 2009, post-mortem findings 20100410.1167
Rabies, feline - USA: (NYC) 20100325.0950
Rabies, human - USA: vaccination protocol change 20100320.0890
Rabies, equine, human exposure - USA (03): (MI), RFI 20100318.0860
Rabies, wildlife - USA (05): (TX) bat, canine exposure 20100318.0858
Rabies, wildlife - USA (04): (TN) skunk, canine 20100307.0745
Rabies, wildlife - USA (03): (OR) fox 20100305.0733
Rabies, equine, human exposure - USA (02): (TX), clarification 20100304.0706
Rabies, equine, human exposure - USA: (TX) 20100228.0667
Rabies, human exposure - USA (02): (AR, NJ) 20100226.0634
Rabies, human, presumed abortive, 2009 - USA: (TX) 20100226.0633
Rabies, raccoon, feline - USA: (AL, GA) 20100220.0580
Rabies, raccoon - USA (04): (NYC) vaccination 20100217.0555
Rabies, skunk, canine - USA: (KS) 20100213.0518
Rabies, animal - USA: (OR, FL) alert 20100207.04180
Rabies, coyote - USA: (NY) alert 20100206.0404
Rabies, raccoon - USA (03): (NYC) feral cats, vaccine 20100205.0384
Rabies, raccoon - USA (02): (NYC) 20100203.03672
Rabies, raccoon, canine, human exposure - USA: (DE) 20100129.0321
Rabies, raccoon - USA (NY) 20100122.0246
Rabies, bovine, human exposure - USA: (MD) 20100119.0212
Rabies, wildlife - USA (02): (NJ) fox, human exposure, corr. 20100110.0113
Rabies, wildlife - USA (02): (NJ) fox, human exposure 20100109.0104
Rabies, wildlife - USA: (AZ) 20100101.0013]

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information, and of any statements or opinions based
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