Officials: Rabies case confirmed within Abilene city limits

A skunk found in south Abilene tested positive for rabies, the city of Abilene's Animal Services Division announced Wednesday.

The Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed the specimen. While there reportedly was no human contact with the infected skunk, the city of Abilene – in a news release – said "a dog that came into contact with the skunk will be kept under confinement for the state-required 45 days as a precautionary measure."

Brandi Rowe, owner of three dogs and two cats, lives on Thompson Parkway, which is the area where the infected skunk was found.

Rowe isn't worried about her animals getting rabies because her pets are vaccinated.
"We'll just have to keep an eye on them outside to make sure there are no animals," Rowe said.

Rowe recommended rabies vaccinations to pet owners, but understands it's costly.
In the state of Texas, you only have to give a rabies vaccination for your animal once every three years.

Dr. Allen Bolt, owner of the Animal Health and Medical Center, suggested a rabies vaccination every year.

"I always have recommended annual vaccinations," Bolt said.

According to the city's Animal Services Division, the following tips should be followed to help alleviate the potential danger of rabies:

*- Immunize all dogs and cats over the age of four months.

*- Keep all pets confined in a secure enclosure or on a leash while walking.

*- Immediately report any wild animals exhibiting unusual behavior.

*- Do not interact with wildlife.

"Rabies is a virus disease of the central nervous system," the city's news release said. "It can be transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal or through the saliva of a rabid animal being introduced into a fresh scratch or similar skin break and rarely by other routes. Saliva in contact with unbroken skin or even on a scratch wound over 24 hours old (one where a scab has formed) usually won't require anti-rabies treatment. You should immediately see a doctor if you have been bitten and think the animal could be rabid."

In case of contact with a potentially rabid animal in city limits, contact the city of Abilene Animal Services Division during regular business hours at 325-698-0085 or at 325-673-8331 after hours or during holidays.

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