Some facts about rabies and what to do if you are bitten by an animal suspected of having rabies.
Statesman Journal

A dead skunk found in West Bloomfield was found to be positive for rabies on Thursday, health officials said.

The Fund is the latest in a series of 15 rabies-infected animals that were inspected this year by the Oakland County Health Authority officials – nearly twice as many as 2018 at that time.

"Certainly the number of cases this year is a problem, but also because many of them were close to each other in residential areas," said Bill Mullan, Oakland County executive spokesman Dave Coulter.

Rabid skunks may be a greater risk to the public than rabid bats, since they are land-based animals that interact more with humans and pets. (Photo: bobloblaw, Getty Images / iStockphoto)

In an e-mailed media warning on Thursday, district officials urged residents to "refrain from wild animals such as skunks, bats, raccoons, foxes and strays Cats Keep Out Dogs. "

Tests found the rabies virus in four bats and eleven skunks in Oakland County. There were five skunks in Southfield alone, all in the area between Southfield and Greenfield and north of 10 miles south and east of Lathrup Village.

The last find was a dead skunk found in the limited square mile area of ​​Maple Road in the north, 14 miles to the south, Farmington Road to the east, and Drake Road to the west.

"Rabies is a deadly disease, and there is no cure known, the best protection is to avoid contact with stray, wild and dead animals," said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer of Oakland County.

Macomb County discovered only one rabies-infected animal in 2019 – a bat found earlier this year – compared to four infected bats last year, said Dr. Kevin Lokar, a medical officer.

"So we do not see the increase , which has Oakland County, "said Dr. Lokar on Thursday.

Wayne County had also just reviewed one case in the wild so far this year, and the county in many years has no cases repo said Dr. Ruta Sharanhgpani , Medical Director.

Nationwide, far more bats are infected with rabies than skunks, and by July, public health officials in Michigan said they had them Year nearly 2½ times as many rabid bats verified as in 2017.

Most confirmed infected bats are from the Detroit and Lansing regions, but infected bats were found this year. "are distributed throughout the Lower Peninsula," said Dan O'Brien, veterinarian of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The two infected skunks came from Oakland County, he told the Free Press in July.

Experts in public health can not yet say whether the increased number of infected animals means a higher prevalence of rabies in this year, or whether this is simply the result of Michigander's presenting animals that are suspected of causing rabies. proceed more carefully.

Humans or their pets can get rabies from the saliva of an infected animal, through bites or scratches. According to experts, rabies is not spread by a skunk. Pets are best protected by being vaccinated and avoiding encounters with wildlife and other "unknown animals," says Stafford.

The law in Michigan requires dogs and ferrets to be vaccinated against rabies. and it is recommended for cats. "Vaccination is important to prevent your pet from getting rabies, but it also protects you when a wild animal bites your pet," states a government website.

Here are answers to important questions about rabies: [19659005] What is rabies? Rabies is a virus that can infect the brain of humans, domestic animals and wild animals. If left untreated, it is almost always deadly.

What are the symptoms? Early symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, anxiety and symptoms around a bite (pain, tingling, numbness). Later symptoms include difficulty in swallowing, fear of water (hydrophobia), paralysis, convulsions, coma and death.

How long after a bite start the symptoms? Depending on the size and severity of the wound, the distance to the brain, and the amount of virus entering the wound, it may take weeks, months, or even a year for a disease to appear after exposure.

What animals carry rabies? Most commonly affected are bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes. Domesticated cats and dogs are occasionally rabid. Smaller animals – squirrels, chipmunks, mice, rats, hamsters and rabbits – are generally not considered virus carriers because they are too small to survive a rabid animal attack.

How to avoid getting? Rabies? Do not treat stray or wild animals, even if they are tame or sick. Call the Animal Control Office in your area instead. However, if you are bitten, immediately wash the wound with warm water and soap for five minutes – a reaction that is considered to be the most effective prevention of rabies. then seek professional medical help. Get regular vaccinations for cats and dogs. And if your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek the advice of a veterinarian.

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Contact: [email protected] Authors Christina Hall and Keith Matheny have contributed to this report.

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