Rabies warnings issued


For Greene County News

XENIA — Greene County Public Health is warning about the dangers of rabies passed along by animals.

“Rabies is a very serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the brain and nervous system,” a release from the public health organization stated. “Rabies is spread through the saliva of a rabid animal, usually from a bite or scratch. It can be fatal if ignored or left untreated. People who are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal should seek prompt medical treatment.”

Greene County Public Health also provided the following information and tips regarding rabies:

Did you know that…

  • Rabies results in over 55,000 human deaths in the world each year. Every year, more than 15 million people worldwide receive a post-exposure vaccination to prevent the disease. This is estimated to prevent hundreds of thousands of rabies deaths annually.
  • Rabies is a vaccine-preventable viral disease that occurs in more than 150 countries and territories.
  • 40 percent of people who are bitten by suspect rabid animals are children under 15 years of age.
  • Dogs are the source of the vast majority of human rabies deaths.
  • Immediate wound cleansing and immunization within a few hours after contact with a suspect rabid animal can prevent the onset of rabies and death. The Ohio Department of Health Laboratory provides testing of rabies-suspect animals.
  • In 2014, 25 animals tested positive for rabies in Ohio: four raccoons, 20 bats and one skunk.
  • As of June 1 in Greene County, one bat had tested positive for the rabies virus.

What you can do…

  • All dogs, cats and ferrets should be vaccinated against rabies. Consider vaccinating valuable livestock and horses.
  • Pet owners can reduce the possibility of pets being exposed to rabies by not letting them roam free.
  • Spaying or neutering your pet may reduce the tendency they might have to roam or fight.
  • Enjoy all wild animals from a distance and teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, even if they appear friendly.
  • Avoid sick or strange-acting animals.
  • Do not keep wild animals as pets.
  • Do not touch or pick up dead animals with bare hands.
  • Leave bats alone and bat-proof your home.
  • Consult Greene County Public Health officials if there is a possibility that you or a family member has had contact with a bat.

More information about rabies can be found on the Greene County Public Health website at gcchd.org/files/resources/Bats_and_Rabies_-_A_Public_Health_Guide.pdf. For further information, contact Deborah Leopold, Environmental Health Director at 937-374-5604, or Amy Schmitt, Communicable Disease Nurse at 937-374-5638.