Rabies Cases Up, One Woman May Be Infected - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/10/05

Rabies Cases Up, One Woman May Be Infected

Animal control officials are still begging a woman who dropped a rabid puppy at the shelter to come forward. They fear she is carrying the rabies virus and could die if not treated soon.

Shelter officials say the woman dropped off a six week old Australian Shepherd mix last weekend and it turned out to be rabid. They stress that woman is not in any trouble if she comes forward. They are desperate to find her because if the puppy licked her or bit her or drooled on her, she may be carrying rabies and not know it. Laura Forsythe with Lubbock Animal Services says, "If she was exposed to the rabies virus, she needs to start treatment immediately. Rabies is almost 99% fatal if you have been exposed."

Forsythe says rabies can incubate anywhere from six months to a year and once symptoms start to show, it's passed by bodily fluids. She explains, "The symptoms in humans are going to start out like flu symptoms, so they won't necessarily know what they're treating until it's too late."

Forsythe is concerned the woman who dropped off a rabid puppy last weekend is no longer in Lubbock and they may not reach her until the virus starts to take her life. She pleads, "If anybody knows of someone who brought in an Australian Shepherd mix puppy on Saturday April 30th, between 12:00 and 1:00, please contact us or the health department. We need to find this lady."

In the meantime, there's concern even more people could be infected this year. Cases in the South Plains and Panhandle region are on the rise. The number of cases is already triple that of last year and we're not even five months in. Forsythe says, "It just emphasizes how important it is to get your animals, your pets vaccinated for rabies. Get your dogs, your cats, your ferrets and ranchers and farmers, you're livestock - horses and cattle. There have been positive cases of rabies, one or two horses and at least two cows."

Forsythe says the increase in rabies cases correlates with an increase in wildlife, probably due to recent mild winters. If you see an animal that is acting strange do not approach it or touch it, call Animal Services. That number is (806) 775-2712. Call this same number to report information on the women who dropped off the rabid dog.

Questions and Answers about Rabies
Here are some question & answers about rabies and pets, human rabies, wild animals, and rabies risks when traveling.

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