GAINES, MI – This year the county’s third confirmed of rabies in an animal, a mad bat has been identified within the village of Janes County. Gleint is about 10 miles southwest of Flint.
This year’s three crazy animals have come from different areas of Genesee County. The Genesee County Health Department wants to remind residents that it is important to ensure that your pets are current on their vaccinations, including rabies. The health department is also advising the public, especially children, to avoid contact with wild, stray and dead animals to prevent rabies.
Rabies is a virus that affects the nervous system of mammals, including humans. A person can contract rabies through bites, scratches, or saliva from an infected animal. A potential rabies risk should never be taken lightly. Treatment for rabies is available and effective if therapy is received immediately after contact. If untreated, rabies is fatal.
Vaccination of all pets under their care with the rabies vaccine is necessary to promote animal and human health. Whether the animals are kept indoors or outdoors, it is important to ensure that they are all protected from rabies. Exposure can occur even in the most unlikely situations so protection from rabies is required for all animals for which a licensed vaccine is present. This includes dogs, cats, ferrets, horses, cattle and sheep.
How to prevent an outbreak and protect yourself from rabies:
People waking up to find a bat in their room or child’s room must safely hold / collect the bat to present for testing. Test results are an important component of the decision process for exposure prophylaxis. Contact your local health department or animal control agency to arrange a rabies test.
Keep vaccination for all dogs, cats, ferrets and other animals. A licensed vet should give the vaccine, and appropriate boosters can be discussed based on the guidelines.
· Keep your pet under direct care or leasing so that they do not come in contact with wild animals that may be prey to rabies. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal or is exposed to bats, seek immediate veterinary assistance for your pet.
If you or a family member has been bitten or scratched by a wild animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and warm water. Contact your physician and the state or local health department for further guidance regarding potential rabies risk to evaluate the need for rabies postexposure vaccination.
· Do not contact or contact stray, wild, or dead animals. Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
Never adopt wild animals, bring them into your home, or try to work hard for health on unfamiliar sick animals. · Keep pets indoors, take care when going outdoors, and always use a leash to limit your exposure to wild animals that may be rabbits.
To prevent animals from living there, open seals around your house such as attic, crawl space or areas under your porch or deck.
To remove nuisance animals, please contact a permitted contractor, preferably one with both liability insurance and workers compensation insurance, with the Department of Natural Resources. Make sure the contractor allows for the specific animal you want to remove. A list of wildlife damage and nuisance animal control contractors in your particular area can be found here: https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-79136_79608_83071-137162,00.html.
For questions about domestic animals such as dogs or cats and animal care, please contact Genesee County Animal Control at 810-732-1660. For questions about human health, contact the Genesee County Health Department at 810-257-1017.
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