The Roundup -

Officials Release Rabies Reminder


State and local public health officials are reminding Montanans to be aware of the risk for exposure to rabies as summer approaches. From 2009 to 2015, 162 animals submitted for testing to the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) were positive for rabies. Most of the animals were bats, some were skunks, and very few were other wild and domestic animals.

Rabies is a fatal disease. The rabies virus is carried in the saliva of infected warm-blooded mammals and is usually transmitted to people and other animals through a bite. Bats are a great concern in Montana because a bite may not be noticeable. Encounters between humans and wild animals often increase in spring and summer months because of the time spent hiking and engaging in other outdoor activities. Leave wild baby animals alone - no matter how cute they are!

Rabies can be prevented by avoiding contact with wild animals and seeking preventive treatment if you think you have been exposed. If a wild animal cannot be located or submitted for testing, a person may need to undergo a series of shots to prevent disease. In 2015, administration of treatment to prevent infection was recommended to nearly 200 individuals. If someone is bitten by a domestic dog, cat or ferret, the animal can be observed, avoiding the series of shots.

In 2015, Julie Brodhead, RN; the Communicable Disease Nurse for the Richland County Health Department has on record that the county had 22 reported human exposed to animal bites (dogs and cats). Of those, three individuals did receive post exposure prophylaxis due to the suspect animal being killed and unsuitable for testing, or the animal could not be located after incident to rule out rabies.


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