Recent rabies reports - reported cases are increasing
There has been a spate of positive rabies cases reported in PA over the past few months, particularly in the northwestern regions of the state. Most of these cases are from the raccoon strain of rabies – even though we are seeing the disease in other species (cats, groundhogs and even cattle, for example).
Karen Martin, the PDA field veterinarian from Region I (Meadville), says, “Properly vaccinated (and regularly boostered dogs) are often the best way to find rabid raccoons. In both cases where we have had multiple rabid cattle on the same property in our region of the state, the people did not have a dog.”
She goes on to say, “Curious animals will explore odd things, especially with their noses – and that’s how many animals such as deer, cattle and horses are exposed to rabies.”
Dr. Martin also reminds folks that children should be taught to leave wildlife alone, all bite wounds should be thoroughly cleaned with copious soap and running water immediately (and reported to the health department) – and any and all bats found in bedrooms need to be tested for rabies. Testing for rabies is provided at no charge.
Farmers may want to consider contacting their primary care veterinarians to discuss whether rabies vaccination for their stock is appropriate, given the risks in their local areas.
For more information about rabies in Pennsylvania, including maps and historical data, take a look at the website.