PLAINVIEW, TX (KCBD) - A pair of skunks and a calf in Hale County have each tested positive for rabies, the Plainview/Hale County Health Department announced Monday evening.
The health department says the three cases are part of a reported 30 cases of rabies in a 44-county region along the South Plains and Panhandle. According to a release, Hale County last had a reported case of rabies more than 10 years ago. They added the total number of rabies cases in the region for the first part of 2019 has exceeded all of 2018.
The release also suggests residents of Hale County and the region be aware of possible signs and symptoms of rabies, as well as to avoid any animal that might be infected.
The Plainview/Hale County Health Department says anyone living within Plainview city limits that suspects an animal may have rabies to call Plainview Animal Control at (806) 296-1158.
If they live in the county, contact the Hale County Sheriff’s Office at (806) 296-2724.
From the release:
Citizens may be infected with the rabies virus if bitten by an animal that has the disease. Rabies are also transmitted from saliva from a rabid animal that gets in the eyes, nose, or mouth, saliva from fingers that then touch a face and saliva of a rabid animal that makes contact with open cuts on the skin. If contact is made with a rabid animal, a series of injections (shots) can help those bitten from getting the disease. For this treatment to work well, it must be given soon after contact with the rabid animal.
Signs of rabies include:
· Animals that have a change in behavior.
· Wild animals which seem to be friendly or tame.
· Wild animals – coyotes, foxes, bats, skunks, and raccoons – which you do not usually see in the daytime.
· Animals that have a hard time walking, eating, or drinking.
· Excitement or meanness in animals.
· Animals that bite or scratch at an old wound until it bleeds.
If a pet is infected with the rabies virus, the way it acts may change. A friendly dog might want to be alone. A shy dog might want attention. Rabid dogs often become mean, roam, make strange noises and attack people and other animals. Rabid animals may drool, and they sometimes swallow stones, sticks, or other things.
Later, as the rabid animal gets even sicker, it might have trouble chewing, swallowing, drinking or walking. It may not be able to close its mouth, and may appear to be choking. Never try to clear the throat of an animal with these signs. If you see an animal acting this way, contact the local animal control agency right away.
If you are bitten:
If an animal bites you, follow these steps. They may save your life.
· Quickly and thoroughly wash the bite with soap and water. Rinse it well. Put an antiseptic on it to kill germs.
· See a doctor as soon as possible. The doctor will decide if you need treatment to prevent rabies.
· Describe the animal that bit you – the kind, size, and color – to the doctor, local rabies control authority, or animal control officer. Tell children to get help from a teacher, nurse, parent, policeman, school guard, or other adult. Try to locate the animal or keep track of it if you know where it lives. Remember what it looked like and where it can be found.
· The local rabies control authority needs to have any biting dog, cat, or domestic ferret tested for rabies or observed for 10 days. If the quarantined dog, cat, or domestic ferret is alive 10 days after the bite, it could not have given you rabies. If the animal shows signs of rabies or dies during the observation period, it must be tested for rabies.
How to prevent rabies:
· By law, you must have a veterinarian vaccinate your dogs and cats against rabies. Ask a veterinarian about the best vaccination schedule for your pet. Keeping your pets vaccinated protects you and them.
· Restrain your pets; do not allow them to roam.
· Avoid contact with wild animals and with dogs and cats you do not know. Do not approach strange dogs or cats. Do not try to hand-feed wild animals and do not keep them as pets.
· Do not touch sick or injured animals. Call and report them to an animal control officer.