A newly published account of a stray dog found in Minnesota and taken to North Dakota that resulted in the need for Rabies Post-Exposure Prophylaxis for 21 people, and the euthanization of 36 dogs; and Rabies reports from New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Virginia.

Courtesy FEMA. Photo by Jocelyn Augustino.

Minnesota  01/06/11 hon.ch: by Robert Preidt – A newly published case history highlights the importance of rabies vaccinations for pets and animal shelter workers.  The report details a situation involving a stray dog found in rural Minnesota and taken to a North Dakota animal shelter in March 2010. When it was later learned that the dog had rabies, public health officials began an investigation using animal shelter records and a public notification to identify people and animals that may have had contact with the rabid dog.  As a result, post-exposure rabies vaccine was given to 21 people, including nine animal shelter workers and one volunteer. Because of potential contact with the rabid dog, 36 dogs were euthanized, including some that had been housed with the rabid animal and others that might have been exposed and were not up-to-date on their rabies shots.  As of December 2010, there had been no reported cases of rabies in any of the humans or dogs included in the investigation.  Rabies is a fatal disease. Animal shelter workers who may come into contact with rabid animals should consider receiving rabies vaccination before starting their duties, the report authors recommended.  In addition, the case report, which appears in the Jan. 7 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emphasizes the importance of giving domestic animals routine rabies vaccinations. CDC-MMWR January 7, 2011 / 59(51);1678-1680.

New Jersey 01/06/11 northjersey.com: by Maxim Almenas – Edgewater – A rabies test has come back positive for a raccoon that attacked one resident and charged police officers who were trying to capture it.  On the morning of Dec 31, a resident of the Shadyside section of the borough was confronted by the raccoon as it was trying to enter his apartment. After the raccoon latched its teeth onto the man’s boot, a neighbor was able to bat it off with a broom.  A witness near the intersection of Thompson Lane and Old River Road called 911.  “It actually tried to attack our police officers, too,” said Patricia Dalton, head of the Edgewater Health Department. “It was a very sick animal.”  After the raccoon charged the officers, including James Dalton, Patricia’s son; Ed Ring and Ed Goodwin, they cornered it atop a hill near the Aventine Condominiums.  They were able to subdue the disoriented animal until Bergen County Animal Control officers arrived, but they couldn’t initially find the man who was attacked. Dalton said she and Lt. Dennis Ring canvassed the neighborhood.  Realizing the man might be unaware he could be at risk, she asked the police to contact the county and initiate a reverse 911 call to residents in the area.  “This guy was the third person that called in,” Dalton said, adding that he called in by 3 p.m. the same day. “So we were very fortunate he was home. He didn’t realize what a big deal it was.”  The test results came back from a laboratory in Trenton on Jan. 4.  The night before the attacks, a resident reported hearing two raccoons fighting near the area where the first raccoon was spotted.  Dalton fears there could a second rabid raccoon on the loose.  Any resident who notices unusual behavior by any animal should contact the police immediately.

New York 01/07/11 newschannel34.com: From Tioga County Health Department – There have been confirmed Rabies cases in wild and domesticated animals with in Tioga County.  If your family dog, cat, or ferret is not vaccinated it is at risk of contracting rabies.  Animals that typically carry the Rabies Virus are bats, skunks, Red Fox and Raccoons.  If your pet comes into contact with either of these animals, the incident needs to be reported immediately to the health department at 687-8565.

Texas 01/06/11 sansabanews.com: San Saba County Sheriff’s Department – A case of rabies was confirmed in the Cherokee area during the Christmas break. A female was bitten by a donkey and was transported to the hospital for the bite. The donkey was then tested for rabies and it was confirmed by the lab in Austin.  The investigation of the case showed that the donkey, which was a pet had been bitten by a skunk. Several individuals had to take the rabies vaccine shots due to contact with the donkey.

Virginia 01/05/11 dailypress.com: A raccoon found in Hampton was confirmed for rabies, the Hampton Health Department announced.  The raccoon was attacked by family dogs and was picked up on Scott Drive, in the Virginia Heights section of the city.  To protect your pets from rabies, make sure they have current rabies shots, said John Schellenberg, environmental health manager. Residents should not feed wild animals or leave food outside for their pets that may attract wild animals. Avoid all contact with wild or stray animals.  If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately wash the wound thoroughly and contact your physician or the Health Department for further advice. If you see a sickly animal, particularly a raccoon, call Hampton City Animal Control at 727-8311 with its location.

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