CDC warns of signs and symptoms of Rabies

There have been numerous reports of rabid animals across the state of North Carolina this year. A handful of dogs had to be put down after coming into contact with a rabid raccoon and one local woman contracted the disease after being scratched by an infected bat. Officials have been warning people to stay away from unfamiliar animals and to vaccinate their pets as a preventative measure.

The CDC has also warned U.S., residents to remain vigilant for the risk that bats, and other animals, pose for the exposure to rabies. Even though bats only account for a small number of cases of rabid animals per year, they are responsible for about 7 out of 10 deaths caused by rabies in humans. The number of cases per year has been on a steady decline since the 1940s thanks to routine vaccination for pets and the availability post-exposure prophylaxis.

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Animal control urges rabies vaccine after 6 dogs put down in North Carolina |

After six Cumberland County dogs were euthanized after being exposed to a rabid raccoon, Gaston County Animal Control is warning pet owners to get their pets vaccinated.

“It is a big issue,” said Dr. Kristine Blankenship, a veterinarian at Gaston County Animal Control.

She said the virus is preventable but not curable.

“Most of what we’re seeing is an increase in rabies in wildlife,” she said.

Blankenship said they are seeing the virus in animals like skunks, bats, and raccoons.

A rabid bat scratched a woman in Raleigh in July after she went to see what her dogs were messing with. She then had to take a series of painful shots.


Summary: A number of dogs had to be put down recently after it was discovered that they had been exposed to the rabies virus. The dogs had come into contact with a rabid raccoon, however, others in the state have reported bats carrying the disease as well. Rabies can be carried by a number of different animals and officials are urging people to keep track of their pets and not to approach unfamiliar animals.

Credit: CDC

Bats Lead in Rabies Risk

Bats are responsible for roughly 7 in 10 rabies deaths among people who are infected with the rabies virus in the United States, possibly because people may not know of the risk bats pose, according to the Vital Signs report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The large percentage of deaths tied to bats is particularly striking since bats account for just a third of the 5,000 rabid animals reported each year in the U.S. Rabid dogs that people encounter while traveling overseas are the second-leading cause of rabies cases in Americans.

The U.S. averages 1-3 human cases of rabies a year now, down from 30-50 cases per year in the 1940s. This decrease is largely due to routine pet vaccination and availability of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which combines rabies vaccine and rabies immune globulin to prevent infection after exposure to the virus. Each year, about 55,000 people in the U.S. seek PEP after a potential rabies exposure. Rabies is nearly always fatal if people don’t get rabies PEP before symptoms start. Read more

Summary: The CDC has warned U.S. residents to be aware of the signs and symptoms of rabies in humans and their pets. Bats are responsible for a huge number of deaths among people who are infected with rabies, which is alarming since bats only account for a third of the almost 5,000 rabid animals reported each year. However, the average number of cases per year has significantly decreased due to routine pet vaccination and other factors.