Missouri sees increase in animal rabies cases - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Missouri sees increase in animal rabies cases

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by Zakk Gammon - email | Twitter

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - An unusually high number of rabies cases in Missouri triggers a warning from state health officials. They urge people to vaccinate pets and seek medical treatment for any animal bite.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reports 55 cases so far this year, more than the total for an entire normal year. A spokesperson for the department says there are a higher-than-normal percentage of rabid skunks, with 35 percent testing positive for rabies this year.

Nationwide, more than 90 percent of reported rabies cases involve wild animals. Many of those animals, however, come in contact with domesticated pets, according to the department. In Missouri, rabies is most often seen in bats and skunks, but also occasionally in farm animals and pets. Because many pets have contact with wild animals and people, the department says vaccinating pets also protects people.

Health and Senior Services also says anyone bitten by an animal believed to have rabies should was the wound thoroughly with soap and water for 10 to 15 minutes. A physician should be contacted to see if antibiotics, tetanus booster, or other medical treatment is needed. They should also have a rabies assessment done.

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