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Animal rabies cases dip in 2010





SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 11, 2011
CONTACT: Dr. Lon Kightlinger, State Epidemiologist, (605) 773-3737
                     Dr. Dustin Oedekoven, State Veterinarian, (605) 773-3321
 
Animal rabies cases dip in 2010
PIERRE, S.D.South Dakota reported 32 rabid animal cases in 2010, down from 53 the year before. Seven cases have been reported to date in 2011
Nine of those cases were domestic animals, prompting state officials to remind South Dakotans of the need to vaccinate their pets for rabies. “It’s important that people keep their pets vaccinated because rabies is always a possibility in South Dakota with the skunk population as the main reservoir of the disease,” said Dr. Lon Kightlinger, State Epidemiologist for the Department of Health.
The risk of rabies is statewide, with 62 counties submitting 671 animals for testing in 2010 and positives coming from 18 counties. The 23 wild animal positives included 20 skunks and three bats; the domestic animals included one dog, three cats, and five cattle. South Dakota’s last human rabies case was reported in 1970. 
Infected wild animals can pass rabies to pets or livestock, which can in turn expose humans. Even wild animals that appear docile can be rabid so it’s important that people don’t attempt to catch or handle wildlife. “In addition to vaccinating pets for rabies, vaccination is also recommended for very valuable livestock and those animals that have frequent contact with people, such as horses that are kept close to dwellings or used by kids,” said Dr. Dustin Oedekoven, State Veterinarian.
To reduce the risk of rabies, take the following precautions:
  • Vaccinate pet dogs and cats for rabies.
  • Do not handle, adopt, or attempt to feed wild animals. Teach children to avoid wildlife, strays or animals they don't know and to tell you immediately if they are bitten or scratched by any animal.
  • Avoid any animal, wild or domestic, that behaves strangely and immediately report it to your local veterinarian, animal control, conservation, or law enforcement office.
  • Skunks and bats, rabies reservoir species, should not be used in school or petting zoo displays where direct contact with the public is possible.
  • Do not handle dead, sick or injured animals. If you must, use heavy gloves, sticks, or other tools to avoid direct contact. Farmers and ranchers should wear gloves and protective eyewear when treating sick animals to prevent exposure to saliva.
  • Close outdoor trash containers tightly to avoid attracting skunks and raccoons.
  • Clear wood or junk piles away from houses to discourage wild animals from moving in.
  • Do not handle bats. If bats are found in a room with small children or sleeping people, call the Department of Health, your physician, or your local animal control officer.
If you suspect rabies in a wild animal, pet or livestock, contact your veterinarian immediately. If you have a potential exposure to rabies, wash the affected area with soap and water right away and call your doctor or the Department of Health. Your veterinarian will instruct you as to handling of animals involved. If the animal is dead, save the carcass for laboratory testing, being careful not to damage the head. If the animal is alive, try to capture it for examination or observation but be sure to avoid further exposure. If the animal escapes, note its description for later identification. If you are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal, human disease can be prevented by getting the rabies vaccination.
For more information about human rabies control, call the Department of Health at 1-800-592-1861 or see the web site at http://doh.sd.gov/DiseaseFacts/Rabies.aspx http://aib.sd.gov/diseasecontrol.shtm. For information on animal rabies control call the Animal Industry Board at 605-773-3321 or see the web at http://aib.sd.gov/diseasecontrol.shtm 
(KYT'-ling-ur)
(oh-duh-KOH'-vuhn)
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Rabies Cases by County, South Dakota, 2010
  Brookings
3
  Lake
1
  Brule
1
 Lincoln
1
  Charles Mix
1
 Marshall
1
  Codington
2
 McPherson
1
  Davison
1
 Miner
1
  Day
2
 Minnehaha 
3
  Hamlin
4
  Tripp
1
 Hutchinson
2
  Turner
4
  Kingsbury
2
  Yankton
1