WEST PLAINS, Mo. — The first confirmed case of rabies has been reported to the Howell County Health Department by the Missouri State Public Health Lab in Jefferson City.
The case involved a rabid 8 week old puppy near the Moody area, which became ill and died. Howell County Health Department officials say the puppy had exposure to 32 people who have started Post Exposure Prophylactic shots. The puppy’s mother, 5 littermates, and 2 other dogs have had to be euthanized due to exposure to a rabid animal, all of which were not current on rabies vaccinations.
Justin Frazier, Environmental Public Health Supervisor with the Howell County Health Department said this particular case, and the severity and exposure, are rare, however, the proper actions must be taken quickly following a possible exposure to protect the individual from the rabies virus.
To date in 2016, this is the first confirmed cases of rabies in Howell County, as well as the third rabies case statewide. Howell County ended 2015 with a total of 3 positive rabies cases, all involving skunks, with 31 cases reported statewide. In 2014, 5 rabies cases were reported to the Howell County Health Department, all involving skunks. In 2013, Howell County had a total of 4 positive rabies cases, which involved 3 skunks and 1 cat.
In 2008, a Texas county man died from rabies after being bitten on the ear by a bat, marking the first human rabies death in Missouri since 1959. Many Missourians receive the anti-rabies series of shots each year to prevent the development of rabies after experiencing a possible exposure to a rabid animal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 40,000 persons in the United States receive the anti-rabies series of shots annually.
Although rabies is transmitted to humans almost entirely through bites from rabid animals, contamination of open wounds or mucous membranes with saliva or nervous tissue from a rabid animal could potentially constitute an exposure. It is important to remember that personal pets should not be handled without protection directly after being exposed to wildlife due to the potential for carrying residual saliva from an infected animal.
Health department officials remind the public that rabies is 100% preventable. To help combat the virus, the health department and veterinarians in Howell County will hold a number of vaccination clinics on Saturday, May 7.
Kramer Animal Hospital 256-2014 8:00-5:00 at office. 109 St. Louis St.
West Plains Vet Clinic 256-4515 8:00-12:00 at clinic. 1716 W. Hwy 160
Animal Clinic of West Plains 256-6145 8:00-11:30 at clinic. 1101 St. Rt. 17 and 12:30-2:30 at the fairgrounds.
Mountain View Farmers Market- Dr. Lewis 934-2323 1:00-3:00(
(Ozarks Area Network)