In April, a cow from McPherson County tested positive for rabies at the Kansas State University Rabies Laboratory in Manhattan. The cow was submitted by Dr. Lacey from the Smokey Valley Animal Hospital in McPherson. This is the first case in McPherson County and the 25th case in Kansas in 2013.
This year’s positives include 18 skunks, three bovine, two dogs, one cat and one bat. In 2012 there were 56 animals testing positive in Kansas. The animals testing positive in 2012 included 34 skunks, six bats, five horses, four bovines, two raccoons, one coyote, and four cats.
The risk of exposure to rabies is real, but the disease is preventable in both humans and domestic animals. In the US, there are around 7,000 animal rabies cases diagnosed every year. In the Midwest, skunks and bats are the main sources and the most common animal species positive for rabies. Domestic pets and livestock can be infected from exposure to these wildlife sources of rabies. Rabies prevention consists of vaccinating domestic animals, education of humans to avoid exposures, and providing exposed persons with prompt post-exposure rabies prophylaxis. The World Health Organization estimates that ~70,000 people die of rabies infection worldwide every year.
The K-State Rabies Laboratory offers these tips to prevent rabies:
- Have your veterinarian vaccinate all dogs, cats, ferrets, horses, and valuable livestock against rabies.
- If bitten by an animal, seek medical attention and report the bite to your local public health department or animal control department immediately.
- If your animal is bitten, contact your veterinarian for an appointment for the animal to be examined.
- Do not handle, or feed wild animals. Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
- If wild animals appear sick or injured, call animal control or an animal rescue agency for assistance.
- Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
If you have additional questions, please contact your veterinarian, local or state health department, or the K-State Rabies Laboratory at 785-532-4483.
For more information, visit: www.vet.ksu.edu/rabies