City of Abilene Receives Second Positive Rabies Result
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) advised Abilene Animal Services on February 1, 2017, that one skunk submitted for analysis tested positive for rabies. The skunk was found near the 5000 Block of Wagon Wheel in Abilene. There are no known human or domestic animal exposures to this skunk.
Rabies is a deadly virus that affects the central nervous system. The virus is spread through the saliva of infected animals, so humans and animals can be infected through the bite of a rabid animal or by the saliva from such an animal contacting their mucous membranes or an open wound. Such contact with a rabid animal can only be treated through a series of shots administered by a healthcare professional.
To aid in the prevention of rabies, it is critical for people not to handle common rabies carrier such as bats, skunks, and raccoons along with other wild animals as any mammal can become infected with the rabies virus. Anyone that is bitten by a domestic animal or bitten or scratched by a wild animal must immediately contact a healthcare professional for a rabies risk assessment instead of waiting for symptoms to develop; once symptoms are present, the virus may be untreatable.
All animal bites must be reported to local animal control authorities in order that the biting animal can be quarantined or tested for rabies.
Signs of rabies in animals include abnormal behavior such as nocturnal animals being active during the day, approaching humans or other animals, difficulty with movement, and unusual sounds. Healthy animals usually avoid human contact; a wild animal that allows you to approach or handle it is likely ill or injured and will bite in self-defense. Unusual animal activity and suspected rabid animals should be reported immediately to Abilene Animal Services at 698-0085.
Abilene Animal Services offers these tips concerning exposure to rabies:
- Do not feed wild animals – this just brings them closer to your family.
- Teach children to stay away from wild or deceased animals.
- Do not allow pets to roam freely, as free-roaming increases their chance of exposure without your knowledge.
- Keep your pet's rabies vaccination current.
- Immediately contact a veterinarian if your pet is bitten or scratched by a wild animal.
- People with possible rabies exposure should consult with a physician without delay.
- Report all animal bites to animal control authorities; the biting animal must be quarantined or tested for rabies.