|
|
|
The Shawnee News-Star
  • Unity has seen 10 patients with possible rabies exposure

  • With the onset of spring comes flowers in bloom, longer days, warmer temperatures and an increased chance of exposure to the rabies virus, according to officials at Unity Health Center.


    • email print
  • With the onset of spring comes flowers in bloom, longer days, warmer temperatures and an increased chance of exposure to the rabies virus, according to officials at Unity Health Center.
    In little more than a week there have been 10 patients come into Unity with possible rabies exposure, Kari Gilliam, a pharmacist a Unity, said. From January to March 31 there have been 21 cases of rabies statewide, there were 60 total in 2011. Seventy percent of the rabies cases are found in skunks, the next highest instance of rabies are found in cattle, then dogs, cats, horses and then bats.
    The high amount of rabies in skunks may be attributed to a population increase that occurs among skunks about every six years, Cleda Byrum, an employee health nurse at Unity, said.
    Health officials want to warn Pottawatomie County residents to be vigilant when it comes to stray animals and to make sure that children do not handle wild animals. Officials also warn residents to make sure their pets are vaccinated. Officials also warn residents to make sure they are up-to-date on all of their tetanus and Tdap immunizations.
    “If the animal is sick, take that animal to the vet and see what’s wrong. Skunks especially, if they’re out during the day time, that’s not when they’re supposed to be out, so if they’re out there is usually a very good reason and a lot of times its rabies. And, just don’t play with wildlife,” Vicki Milliken, director of infection prevention and control for Unity, said.
    From 1995 to 2004, Pottawatomie County had the most number of animal rabies cases with 47. So far this year, McClain and Major counties have the most number of rabies cases with three.
    Rabies can only be spread through saliva, Byrum said. Animals with rabies may exhibit signs of the infection in two different ways. There is the anger characteristic. This occurs when the rabies virus makes the animal more aggressive. The animal will bite and attack humans and even inanimate objects. They may also be more vocal than normal.
    Another characteristic of the rabies virus is the “dumb form.” The animal will appear withdrawn and uncoordinated, Byrum said.
    If a dog is infected with rabies the virus can take up to eight weeks to incubate and infect the brain and they may not show signs of infection until three to seven days after they become infected.
    The brain must remain intact to test for the rabies virus because the infection is found in the brain tissue, cerebral spinal fluid and saliva, Byrum said.
    Residents need wash any animal bites with hot water and soap for 10 minutes without stopping, report animal bites to the local animal control, and go to the hospital for treatment if there is a chance they were exposed to rabies. The treatment is a series of shots in the arm over a period of 14 days.
    Page 2 of 2 - The accute period of rabies ranges from two to 10 days, it is almost fatal, and treatment is typically supportive treatment.
     

        calendar