ABILENE, Texas - The City of Abilene wants citizens to remain cautious about rabies.
Tuesday evening the city confirmed three more people who may have come in contact with a rabid dog at Abilene's animal shelter. That brings the total to 44. Out of that number, three were given precautionary treatments for possible exposure. There's now a fourth little girl who may have been licked by the dog. Her parents are being questioned by the state. Rabies is almost always deadly, if not treated.
With this recent case, and three others involving skunks, some parents and homeowners are showing extra caution with their pets and families.
Abilene resident Courtney Bryant said, "My little boy used to play in the back yard while I was cooking dinner because I could see him through the window in the kitchen and I don't even let him go out there anymore, just because we're nervous."
When the Abilene Animal Shelter is made aware that there is a rabid animal in town they place a notice on anyone's door that lives nearby.
"We also try to educate folks about cleaning up their property, not having trash and debris, not leaving food out overnight so it's a wildlife habitat," Animal Services Manager Aaron Vannoy.
Three skunks have already been identified in the Abilene area with rabies. Abilene Veterinarian Larry Ellis said vaccination is still the best prevention.
"Your animal is exposed to lots of animals that have the potential for rabies whether its anything that wild has that potential to make contact with your dog," Ellis said.
KTXS asked how long will people need to be on high alert.
"I haven't looked into that," said Bryant. "I'm just paranoid now."
The city said there is no need for paranoia, but to only just take precautions.
"If they were at the animal shelter or they interacted with the animal in Jones County let somebody know so that they can get the proper treatment," Vannoy said.
If you have come in contact with the rabid animal or visited the shelter from May 22 to May 24, the shelter said to call this hotline: 325-437-4585. A worker with animal services will administer a questionnaire that asks about the animals the person came in contact with and the type of contact. Animal services may then advise the caller on any additional steps needed or if it's deemed as possible exposure, the case may be referred to the state.