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.