Arizona had record number of rabid animals in 2009

Arizona  03/03/10   by Bob McClay/KTAR.com:  Arizona had a record number of rabid animals in 2009, and officials are concerned about a repeat this year. Craig Levy with the Arizona Department of Health Services said that in 2009, “We ended up with 280 rabid animals in the state — mostly skunks, bats, foxes, bobcats and things like that. We not only broke the previous record, but we shattered it, so we had a horrible rabies year last year.” So far this year, 27 rabid animals have been confirmed in Arizona. All but five have been skunks. Levy said only a few people have had contact with suspected infected animals. “We’ve probably had a couple of human exposures. I know we’ve had over 30 pet exposures, mostly dogs fighting with skunks.”

As the weather warms up and more animals start moving around, rabies cases will surge, especially in northern Arizona, Levy said. “We’re going to have more wild animal activity again. We’re going to have people getting out and about, hiking and camping and things like that. So we could actually see rabies pick up speed again as we get into the warmer months.”

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