Update to incidents of Rabies cases in Maricopa County
The Maricopa County Department of Public Health reports that more cases of rabies have been diagnosed in animals in our county this year than last, even though 2016 one of the worst in recent history. Three bats have tested positive for rabies in the past few weeks (as of Sept. 2017). Craig Levy, an epizoologist for Maricopa County states, “The best thing for a resident to do is to make sure that their pets are vaccinated against rabies and to be sure not to handle animals such as bats that could be carrying the virus.” The year-to-date total for positive cases this year are: five bats, one bobcat and one fox. Skunks can also be an important carrier of rabies and caution should be used around them as well. “Our concern is that the worst months may still be ahead.: Levy added.
Bats tend to migrate from south to north in the late summer and early fall months. The number of bat-related exposures increases as bats may roost in areas where pets and people live. It is very important to leave these pets alone.
Update from 2016
The October 2016 issue of the newsletter for the Arizona State Veterinary Association had a story of a coyote that was recently killed by two dogs around Sunflower, AZ. This coyote was tested and determined to have rabies. Health officials warn that the recreational areas frequented by so many of the residents of the East Valley may be the home to some wildlife infected with rabies. Please keep your dogs and cats current on their rabies vaccinations. Not only is this a wise measure to eliminate risk, but it is the case of dogs, it’s the law.
The Rabies vaccine is initially given when dogs (and cats) are over 12 weeks of age. This vaccine is boosted one year later. After the second Rabies vaccine, the vaccine boosters are due every 3 years.
There is probably no simpler step you can take to prevent a health catastrophe than keeping your pets current on their rabies vaccines. If you are not sure of your pet’s vaccine status, please call our office.