Yesterday we heard how rabies rates in Sheridan County have more than quadrupled over the last year. Today, Sheridan Media's Betsy Love continues the story, looking at why there has been such a dramatic increase recently
Rabies is a very peculiar virus in some ways. For instance, because it is a neurological disease that causes acute inflammation of the brain, a wide and sometimes bizarre range of symptoms are associated with rabies, including mania, depression, blurred vision, mouth foaming--Even things like hydrophobia, which is a fear of water, can manifest themselves in rabies victims.
Luckily, for us, rabies is somewhat rare in humans. Unfortunately for some other species, rabies for them is not-so-rare. So far, eleven of the 12 confirmed rabies cases this year have been in skunks. Local vet Dr. Jenn Gage explains why we may currently have so many infected skunks in our area:
Another reason for the increase she says, is that rabies, like other viruses tends to be a cyclical disease:
Though rabies is rare in humans, it is also very deadly. Dr. Gage and local health officials are urging residents to take precautionary measures, including vaccinating pets you might normally not think of as being in the "high risk" category:
If feasible, she also recommends vaccinating livestock; one cow in Sheridan County has tested positive for rabies so far this year.