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Rash of Bexar rabies cases prompts health warning

Positive rabies test in dog first in 30 years

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BEXAR COUNTY, Texas – Health officials are reminding the public on the dangers of rabies after a recent rash of positive cases in Bexar County.

 

A larger number of confirmed cases have been reported over the last year, the city of San Antonio said. Cases have been reported in bats, skunks a feral cat and a dog, which was a family pet and the first case of canine rabies in the county in 30 years. 

 

There have been 52 documented rabies cases in the area since August 2014, according to the Department of State Health Services. Many of the cases were reported in private yards or public access areas.

 

The city and health officials issued the following guidelines to avoid rabies exposure.

  • Teach children that they should never touch wildlife or any roaming animal, regardless of whether it is living or dead. Children should be taught to tell an adult immediately if they see or touch an unknown animal in close proximity to people or pets.
  • Residents should also refrain from feeding, touching or handling any wildlife or unknown animals.
  • If you or your pet makes contact with a bat, skunk, raccoon, coyote or other wildlife, San Antonio residents are urged to call Animal Care Services at 311. County residents can contact Bexar County Animal Control at 335-9000.
  • Pets that come into contact with wildlife should be confined to prevent further exposure to people or animals. State law dictates that any actual or potential rabies exposure must be reported to the local rabies authority for investigation and potential testing.
  • If the unknown animal is within a home or building, keep the animal confined, but only if it can be done safely and without direct contact.  
  • If at all possible, wait for Animal Control to respond and avoid striking the animal. Physical trauma can damage the brain and make it impossible to conduct rabies laboratory tests.

The city also wants to remind residents that all dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies annually in keeping with city and state law.