Let’s talk about Rabies

Rabies is a deadly viral infection. Usually it is spread by animals that are infected.

(A rabies cell and a plush version)

“Rabies is spread by infected saliva that enters the body through a bite or broken skin. The virus travels from the wound to the brain, where it causes swelling, or inflammation. This inflammation leads to symptoms of the disease. Most rabies deaths occur in children.

In the past, human cases in the United States usually resulted from a dog bite, but recently, more cases of human rabies have been linked to bats and raccoons. Although dog bites are a common cause of rabies in developing countries, there have been no reports of rabies caused by dog bites in the United States for a number of years due to widespread animal vaccination.

Other wild animals that can spread the rabies virus include:

  • Foxes
  • Skunks

Very rarely, rabies has been transmitted without an actual bite. This is believed to have been caused by infected saliva that has gotten into the air.”

 

Why am I discussing Rabies?

Well this year, at least in the Blacksburg area, there have been many rabid skunk/dog confrontations in which dogs have been quarantined or had to get rabies booster…or both!

these guys can cause more problems than huelas malas (Bad smells)

And then interestingly enough I found this article:

Rabies Found in Georgia Horse; Six People Exposed to Virus

by: Pat Raia
June 22 2012,

Six people in Georgia are receiving medical treatment after being exposed to a horse determined to have contracted rabies.

North Georgia Health District Public Information Officer Jennifer King said that on June 9 the horse’s owners noticed the animal had stopped eating and began exhibiting signs of illness. The animal’s owners subsequently had the horse examined by a veterinarian. University of Georgia veterinarians later determined the horse had contracted rabies, King said. Under Georgia state medical record disclosure statutes, University of Georgia spokeswoman Kat Gilmore was unable to comment on what became of the horse.

On June 20, Georgia health officials announced that six people who had contact with the horse’s mucus or saliva were receiving post-exposure treatment for rabies, King said. Meanwhile, horses and cattle that were residing in the same pasture with the horse are being vaccinated for rabies and remain under veterinary observation for the next six months, King said.

King said public health officials did not know how the horse became infected with rabies. However, the animal likely contracted the disease after contact with an infected wild animal such as a raccoon, fox, skunk, bat, coyote, or bobcat, she said.

Rabies is caused by a lyssavirus affecting the neurologic system and salivary glands. Clinical signs of rabies are variable and can take up to 12 weeks to appear after the initial infection. Although affected horses are sometimes asymptomatic, an infected horse can show behavioral changes, such as drowsiness, depression, fear, or aggressiveness. Once clinical signs appear, there are no treatment options.

Rabies can only be diagnosed postmortem by submitting the horse’s head to a local public health laboratory to identify the rabies virus using a test called fluorescence antibody.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) advises that all horses receive rabies vaccinations annually. AAEP vaccination guidelines recommend that adult horses receive an initial single-dose and a booster vaccination annually; foals born to vaccinated mares should receive a first dose of vaccine no earlier than at six month of age and a second dose four to six weeks later followed by annual vaccination; and foals of mares not vaccinated against rabies should receive a first dose of vaccine at three or four months of age, and should be revaccinated annually.

 

So why am I sharing all these rabies incidents with you?

Rabies is caused by a lyssavirus affecting the neurologic system and salivary glands. Clinical signs of rabies are variable and can take up to 12 weeks to appear after the initial infection. Although affected horses are sometimes asymptomatic, an infected horse can show behavioral changes, such as drowsiness, depression, fear, or aggressiveness. Once clinical signs appear, there are no treatment options.

Rabies can only be diagnosed postmortem by submitting the horse’s head to a local public health laboratory to identify the rabies virus using a test called fluorescence antibody.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) advises that all horses receive rabies vaccinations annually. AAEP vaccination guidelines recommend that adult horses receive an initial single-dose and a booster vaccination annually; foals born to vaccinated mares should receive a first dose of vaccine no earlier than at six month of age and a second dose four to six weeks later followed by annual vaccination; and foals of mares not vaccinated against rabies should receive a first dose of vaccine at three or four months of age, and should be revaccinated annually.


 

So why am I sharing this with you?

Because I want you all to know that unlike some small areas such as Long Island, NY or some of the Islands in the UK where Rabies has been eradicated..it still poses a very serious issue to most places in the US. So keep you pets and yourself safe! Keep their vaccines up to date!

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