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Bat source of Houston County's first rabies case for 2021
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Bat source of Houston County's first rabies case for 2021

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Rabies

Once animals begin to show signs of rabies, which is caused by the rabies virus, it is 100% fatal. The virus is spread through saliva and can be passed through the bite of an infected animal. The most effective way to prevent rabies is through vaccination, and many states require rabies vaccinations for all dogs.

A bat brought home by a puppy has been confirmed as Houston County’s first positive case of rabies for 2021.

According to the Houston County Health Department, the bat was found on Feb. 19 on State Highway 103 when a resident’s puppy brought the bat to the house in its mouth. The resident requested the health department test the bat for rabies.

“There was possible human exposure and the puppy involved was not currently vaccinated against the rabies virus,” a health department press release stated. “The health department strongly recommended the resident seek immediate advice of a licensed physician. In cases where the dogs are not currently vaccinated, the health department recommends the dogs to be euthanized.”

Alabama state law requires all dogs and cats three months of age and older to be vaccinated against rabies. In 2020, there was one rabid animal found in Houston County in a case that involved a raccoon, according to the health department.

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Residents of the area are advised to take the following precautions:

- Make sure pets are current on rabies vaccinations.

- Caution children not to pet or play with wild or stray animals.

- Report stray animals to animal control officials.

- If bitten by an animal, wash the wound with soap and water then immediately seek medical attention. Animal bites should be reported to the health department or animal control.

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