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Some facts about rabies and what to do if you are bitten by an animal suspected of having rabies.
State Journal

A dead skunk found in West Bloomfield tested positive for rabies, health authorities said on Thursday.

The find is the latest in a string of 15 rabies-infected animals checked this year by Auckland County health officials – nearly double the eight found so far in 2018

"Definitely the number of cases this year is a problem, but also because many were found close to one another "in residential areas, said Bill Mulan, spokesman for Oakland County Executive Dave Culter.

Angry skunks may pose a greater risk to the public than rabid bats because they have terrestrial animals more likely to interact with humans and pets. (Photo: bobloblaw, Getty Images / iStockphoto)

In a warning sent to the media Thursday, county officials urged residents to "stay away from wild animals such as skunks, bats, bears, foxes and stray cats and dogs. "

Tests detected rabies virus in four bats and eleven skunks in Auckland County. There were only five skunks in Southfield, all in the area between Southfield and Greenfield roads and 10 miles north, just south and east of the village

The latest find was a dead skunk found within a limited square mile of Maple Road north, 14 miles south, Farmington Road east and Drake Road west.

"Rabies is a fatal disease and no cure is known. so the best protection is to avoid contact with stray, wild and dead animals, "says Lee- n Stafford, Auckland County Health Officer.

Macomb County has identified only one rabies-infected animal so far in 2019 – a bat discovered earlier this year – compared to four infected bats last year, Dr. Kevin said Locker, medical officer.

"So we don't see the increase that Auckland County is seeing," Dr. Locker said Thursday.

Wayne Wayne also had only one wildlife case checked so far this year, and the county of there have been no repo rted cases for many years, said Dr. Ruta Sharanhpani, medical director.

Many more rabbit-infested bats than skunks are found throughout the country. By July, public health officials in Michigan said they checked nearly 2½ times more rabid bats this year than in 2017.

Most of the confirmed infected bats come from metro areas in Detroit and Lansing, but infected bats were found this year. "are spread across the Lower Peninsula," said Michigan Wildlife Veterinarian Dan O'Brien. The two infected skunks come from Auckland County, he told the Free Press in July.

Public health experts still cannot say whether increased findings from infected animals mean a greater spread of rabies this year, or is it simply the result

People or their pets can get rabies from saliva at an infected animal, from bites or scratches. Experts say rabies does not spread through a skunk spray. Pets are best protected by keeping them vaccinated and preventing encounters with wildlife and other "unknown animals," Stafford says.

Michigan law requires dogs and ferrets to be vaccinated against rabies; and is recommended for cats. "Vaccination is important to protect your pet from getting rabies, but it also provides a barrier to protect you if a wild animal bites your pet," according to a state website.

Here are the answers to the key questions about rabies: [19659005] What is rabies? rabies is a virus that can infect the brains of humans, domestic and wild animals. If left untreated, this is almost always fatal.

What are the symptoms? Early symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, anxiety and symptoms of biting (pain, numbness, numbness). Later symptoms include swallowing problems, fear of water (hydrophobia), paralysis, seizures, coma and eventual death.

How long after the bite does the symptoms begin? It may take weeks, months or even a year after exposure, depending on the size and severity of the wound, the distance from the brain, and the amount of virus entering the wound.

What do animals wear rabies? The most commonly affected animals are bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes. Sometimes domestic cats and dogs turn out to be furious. Generally, smaller animals – squirrels, dumbbells, mice, rats, hamsters, and rabbits – are not considered to be carriers of the virus because they are too small to survive the rabid animal attack.

How can you avoid getting rabies? Do not deal with stray or wild animals, even if you are domesticated or ill. Instead, call the animal control office in your area. But if bitten, immediately wash the wound with soap and warm water for a full five minutes – the answer is considered to be the most effective prevention of rabies; then seek professional medical help. Get regular vaccinations for cats and dogs. And if your pet is bitten by a wild animal, get a veterinarian's advice.

Need more info? Visit www.oakgov.com/health and https://bit.ly/2BlZntW

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Contact: blaitner@freepress.com.

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