web analytics

Tag Archive | "Rabies"

KCHD urges caution as bat and human interactions increase in August 


This bat was captured on August 17, 2017 in Kent County.

This bat was captured on August 17, 2017 in Kent County.

In the past several days the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) has started to receive reports from people who have had contact with bats indoors. While these types of encounters are not uncommon in August, any direct contact with a bat represents a potential exposure to rabies.

It is critically important to capture the bat for testing if there is reason to believe a person may have been bitten or scratched by a bat. Do not release a bat if you find it in the room of a sleeping person, an unattended child, someone who is mentally impaired or an intoxicated individual as they may have been bitten without their knowledge.

A captured bat in Kent County will be sent to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for testing. If the bat tests negative for rabies, then no treatment is required. However, if a bat tests positive, or if the bat is not available for testing then the exposed person should receive the post-exposure prophylaxis for rabies.

To safely capture a bat, experts recommend that you wear leather gloves to avoid being bit. Place a box or a coffee can over the bat and then slide a piece of cardboard under the container to trap the bat inside. Secure it with a piece of tape and contact the Kent County Health Department at 616-632-7200 during regular business hours. If you know that you have been bitten or scratched by the bat and the exposure has occurred outside of normal business hours, seek medical attention but keep the bat.

While relatively rare in the United States, human cases of rabies are almost always associated with bats.

Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system and is invariably fatal once symptoms appear.

“Bat encounters rise every year during late August and early September,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer at KCHD. “We can’t stress enough how important it is to be able to perform tests on these animals. Unless you are certain that no one has been bitten by a bat you find in your home, please do not let it go.”

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (0)

Rabies still a concern in Michigan


HEA-Rabies_Map_2013-rgb

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) State Veterinarian Dr. James Averill urges Michiganders to adopt practices that help protect their families, pets, and livestock from rabies, one of the deadliest diseases known to man. According to the World Health Organization, rabies is responsible for the deaths of 55,000 people worldwide.
All mammals are susceptible to rabies.  Rabies virus is usually transmitted via the bite of an infected animal. The virus can also be transmitted in the saliva of an infected animal into an open wound or onto mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose, or mouth.

“Michigan has rabies laws and programs that help protect citizens. Animal bites are reportable, and the State of Michigan requires dogs and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies,” said Averill.
Protect dogs, cats, ferrets, horses, and select livestock by keeping them vaccinated against rabies. If a person suspects their pet or livestock may have had contact with a potentially rabid animal, they should immediately contact their local animal control agency and veterinarian.
“You cannot always know if an animal has rabies, but if your pet or livestock behave aggressively and this is not normal behavior, you should consider rabies as a possible cause, and take appropriate precautions,” Averill said. “If a person is bitten by an animal, they should immediately wash the wound, seek medical attention, and report the bite to the local health department.”

Signs of rabies in animals can include lethargy, depression, aggression, seizures, a change in behavior, difficulty swallowing, excessive salivation, difficulty walking, and eventual death. Because many illnesses can cause these signs, without the laboratory tests rabies cannot be diagnosed.  It is not possible to test live animals for rabies. In order to determine if an animal has the disease, a necropsy must be done and the brain tissue must be examined for the presence of characteristic lesions.
To date, for 2013, there have been 39 cases of rabid Michigan bats in the various counties. See map for statistics.
For more information, please visit: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/emergingdiseases/Rabies_Map_2013_407912_7.pdf 

Posted in NewsComments (0)