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August 7, 2012 > Recent rabies find in Fremont

Recent rabies find in Fremont

Are you and your pets protected?

Submitted By The Alameda County Vector Control Services District

The Alameda County Public Health Laboratory recently reported finding two rabies-positive bats from Fremont within the same week, on July 25 and July 31. The first bat was in the neighborhood between Mowry Avenue and Stevenson Boulevard, bordered by Blacow Road and Fremont Boulevard; the second bat was near Lake Elizabeth. Preliminary reports said there was no human or domestic pet contact with the first bat, while the situation with the second bat is still under investigation. This is the third and fourth rabid bat detected in Alameda County this year-the first was from Berkeley and the second from Sunol.

The periodic discovery of rabid animals in Alameda County reinforces the need to keep your pets' rabies vaccination up-to-date and to contact your local animal control (Fremont Animal Services (510) 790-6640 or Vector Control (510)-567-6800) if you notice suspicious cats, dogs or wildlife such as foxes or ferrets. All mammals are potential victims of rabies, but in Alameda County, bats and skunks are the animals most commonly detected with rabies.

What is rabies and how is it transmitted?

Rabies is an acutely infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. People get rabies from the bite of a rabid animal such as a bat, skunk or fox. It is also possible for people to get rabies if infectious material, such as saliva, from a rabid animal gets directly into their eyes, nose, mouth or a wound. Because rabies is a fatal disease, the goal of public health is firstly to prevent human exposure to rabies through education and secondly to prevent the disease through anti-rabies treatment if exposure occurs. Thousands of people are successfully treated each year after being bitten by an animal that may have rabies. Every year, a few people in the United States die of rabies after dismissing the risk of rabies from the bite of a wild animal and failing to promptly seek medical advice.

Why should I know about rabies?

Rabies is a fatal disease if left untreated after the time of exposure. The rabies virus acquired from bats has caused most of the recent human rabies cases acquired in California. Awareness of the facts about rabies can help people protect themselves, their families and their pets.

From 1997 to 2009, rabies has been detected in 3,380 animals in California and caused six human fatalities. 2,060 bats and 1,166 skunks were detected with rabies, as well as 99 foxes, 18 dogs and 17 cats. During this time, 103 rabid animals were detected in Alameda County (74 bats, 27 skunks, one fox and one opossum). In 2010, 144 bats, 23 skunks, four foxes, one coyote, one cow, and two dogs (a total of 175 animals) have been detected with rabies in California.

Alameda County is a "declared rabies area" and rabies vaccination is mandatory for dogs over 4 months old and strongly recommended for cats. Vaccination helps protect your pet and reduces rabies exposure to you, your family and your neighbors. If your dog or cat is involved in a bite to a human or other animal, state law mandates "rabies quarantine" (isolation from people or animals) for the biting animal, usually for 10 days. An unvaccinated dog or cat that has contact with a potentially-rabid and un-tested biting animal must be vaccinated and undergo a six-month quarantine. Vaccinated dogs or cats will have to be re-vaccinated after contact and monitored for 30 days in quarantine. A six-month isolation period is a terrible and lonely ordeal for your family dog or cat-don't let your beloved pet risk the consequence of being unvaccinated.

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