For Immediate Release
Contact: Phil Ulibarri
775.328.2414 or 775.772.1659
RENO, NV – Within the past 60 days the Nevada State Animal Diseases Laboratory has confirmed that five bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) infected with rabies have been found in Washoe County.
According to health and animal services officials, in one recent case four domestic pets came in contact with a rabid bat. Eventually the pet owner’s cat had to be euthanized and the three dogs which were not current with their rabies vaccinations had to have booster shots. One of these dogs, while at the veterinarian's office bit an attendant who then had to submit to post exposure treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention typical rabies post exposure prophylaxis consists of a dose of human rabies immune globulin and rabies vaccine given on the day of the exposure, and then a dose of vaccine given again on days 3, 7, and 14.
Scenarios such as this one can be prevented if pet owners make sure their animals are current on their rabies vaccinations. Washoe County Regional Animal Services offers low-cost vaccination clinics on the first Tuesday of every month at their office at 2825 Longley Lane in Reno, from 3 pm – 7 pm. For more information about these valuable resources to help keep your pet healthy visit www.washoeanimals.com.
Rabies is usually transmitted by a bite or a scratch from an infected animal. The animals most likely to transmit the rabies virus include bats, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, skunks, and other wild carnivores. Rabid bats are often unable to fly and can be found by pets in yards and along trails and footpaths. Unvaccinated pets that come in contact with infected animals may develop rabies. Pets must be vaccinated before exposure to be protected.
For more information on rabies and rabies vaccinations visit www.cdc.gov/rabies/ . To report possible rabies activity or if you find a dead or sick wild animal like raccoon, skunk, bat, or fox, do not risk exposure to a possible rabid animal by trying to pick up or rescue the animal. Instead contact the Washoe County Health District Vector Borne Disease Prevention Program at 785-4599 or Washoe County Animal Services at 322-3647.