The following edited excerpts are from the Region 7 2011 Summary of Confirmed Rabies Cases received January 23, 2012. This information was distributed by Beverlee E. Nix, DVM, MPH, Zoonosis Control Veterinarian, Texas Department of State Health Services. The report was edited by Scott Meador, Animal Control Officer for the City of San Saba.
There were 439 laboratory-confirmed animal rabies cases reported from the 30-county area of Health Service Region 7 (HSR7) during 2011. Region 7 staff investigated an additional 166 non-negative (decomposed, destroyed, and unsatisfactory) rabies test result incidents for a total of 605 rabies-related case investigations. Rabies was confirmed in HSR7 in 193 skunks, 186 bats, 6 cats, 3 dogs, and 51 other animals (23 raccoons, 18 foxes, three goats, two deer, two horses, one cow, one donkey and one coyote). Counties with laboratory-confirmed rabies cases include:Bastrop (23), Bell (7), Blanco (3), Bosque (2), Brazos (13), Burleson (6), Burnet (57), Caldwell (8), Coryell (4), Falls (2), Fayette (6), Freestone (1), Grimes (1), Hamilton (7), Hays (29), Lampasas (2), Lee (2), Limestone (2), Llano (26), Madison (1), McLennan (5), Milam (5), Robertson (10), San Saba (11), Travis (59), Washington (12), and Williamson (135).HSR 7 led all other Texas Department of Health Service Regions in laboratory confirmed animal rabies cases. Several Central Texas counties experienced increases compared to prior years (Burleson, Caldwell, Fayette, Hamilton, Milam, Robertson and San Saba). Between January 1 and December 31, 2011, South Central Skunk (SCS) rabies virus strain caused increases in the number of rabies cases in Central Texas wildlife and unvaccinated domestic animals. SCS rabies virus infections occurred in unvaccinated dogs, cats, horses, goats, a donkey and a cow. Two captive-raised white-tailed deer, several foxes, raccoons and a coyote developed rabies after being bitten by rabid skunks. While it is not mandatory, horse, donkey and livestock owners should vaccinate their animals annually to prevent rabies. The rabies data presented in this document are obtained through a passive reporting system. The data are based solely on the results of animals submitted for rabies testing. There are many more animals (particularly wildlife) that die of rabies that are never submitted for rabies testing. Rabies is endemic in Central Texas, and ALL counties have rabies risk.The following are guidelines for protection against rabies as submitted by Region 7 Zoonosis Control.• Do not feed or handle stray, wild or injured animals. They may bite, which creates a potential rabies exposure.• Immediately report all animal bites to animal control or a health care professional! If the animal can be proven not to have rabies, bite victims will not need expensive postexposure rabies vaccinations. Promote rabies awareness by providing proper postexposure advice. Rabies is very common in Central Texas wildlife. Some persons remain unaware that skunks, bats and other “high-risk” wildlife transmit rabies.• Keep your pets currently vaccinated against rabies. Rabid animals can enter fenced yards, pet crates, doggie doors, pens, stalls, kennels and more. A rabid skunk can bite your pet through the holes in chain link fence. Bats can fly into high-rise apartments and expose pets there.• Skunks and bats are the most common animals to have rabies inTexas. Rabies is spread through the bite of an infected animal.• Get help from your veterinarian, animal control agency, or public health official if your pet is injured by or unsupervised around a rabies suspect animal. • Don’t handle any high-risk wildlife. A mammal of any age (young or old) can have rabies. Vaccinate dogs and cats.• Vaccinate dogs and cats against rabies when they are between 12 and 16 weeks of age. Quarantine and test “rabies suspect” animals that have bitten or otherwise potentially exposed people to rabies.• Dogs and cats must be quarantined for 10 days (240 hours) from the date of the bite. If the animal cannot be quarantined, brain tissue must be submitted to laboratory for rabies testing.• Livestock and exotic animals must be quarantined for 30 days following bites. If the animal cannot be quarantined, brain tissue must be submitted to the DSHS laboratory for rabies testing.• “High-risk” rabies species (bats, foxes, raccoons, and coyotes) must be submitted to laboratory for rabies testing.• “Low-risk” rabies species (rodents, rabbits, armadillos, etc.) may be submitted to laboratory for rabies testing when rabies is suspected; however, “low-risk” species are very unlikely to have rabies.Following a pet’s encounter with a rabies suspect animal, Region 7 Zoonosis Control urges owners to:• Euthanize the exposed animal(s), or• Revaccinate a “currently vaccinated“ animal immediately and confine for 45 days, and/ or• Vaccinate the “not currently vaccinated” animal immediately and again 21 and 56 days from the exposure date and confine for 90 days.If you have concerns or questions about rabies in San Saba, please contact Scott Meador, Animal Control, 325-372-DOGS (3647) or email: email@example.com, write P.O. Box 788, San Saba, Texas 76877diately and confine for 45 days, and/ or• Vaccinate the “not currently vaccinated” animal immediately and again 21 and 56 days from the exposure date and confine for 90 days.If you have concerns or questions about rabies in San Saba, please contact Scott Meador, Animal Control, 325-372-DOGS (3647) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org, write P.O. Box 788, San Saba, Texas 76877