Health department confirms rabid skunk in Chase County
The Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department (SWNPHD) has confirmed that a second positive rabies case has been found in its nine-county health district.
A rabid skunk was found in Chase County recently. The first case confirmed was also in a skunk in Furnas County.
“We are an area of elevated concern for rabies in Nebraska,” said Melissa Propp, RN, Surveillance Coordinator at SWNPHD.
“Southwest Nebraska had the first positive rabies case for 2017 and has had numerous reported cases since 2015,” Propp added.
“Rabies is a deadly virus infection that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals,” she said. People get rabies from the bite of an animal with rabies. Any wild mammal, like a raccoon, skunk, fox, coyote or bat, can have rabies and transmit it to people.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, rabies is a medical emergency. Any wounds should be immediately washed with soap and water. They should also receive medical attention from a health care professional.
“Vaccination is the best protection for keeping your pets safe,” said Propp.
They recommend residents contact local veterinarians to make sure their pet’s vaccinations are current. In addition, caution is urged around stray or strange animals. If an animal bites you, and it is safe to do so, catch the animal and contact a veterinarian for testing.
“It may save you the pain and cost of rabies vaccinations,” Propp said.
SWNPHD serves Chase, Dundy, Frontier, Furnas, Hayes, Hitchcock, Keith, Perkins and Red Willow Counties.