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What You Need To Know About Rabies

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

With the recent rise of positive rabies cases in Mohave County, please, please, please take appropriate precautions. Make sure your pets are up to date on their rabies vaccinations and minimize exposure risks to potentially rabid wildlife by keeping cats indoors and dogs on leashes. Do not let your pet roam freely. Do not feed wild or feral animals. If your pet has been bitten by a wild animal, please seek veterinary care as soon as possible and contact the local health department. If you have been bitten, thoroughly wash the wound with copious amounts of water and antibacterial soap and contact your healthcare provider and health department right away for further instructions.


Gray foxes have been implemented in several recent laboratory-confirmed rabies cases in and around the Hualapai Mountains near Kingman, AZ. The foxes have been acting very aggressively and attacking both pets and people.


Gray Fox
Gray fox in the Hualapai Mountains June 2020

The rabies virus, a serious zoonotic and public health concern, causes acute viral encephalomyelitis that is always fatal (with few exceptions) once clinical signs appear. Found throughout the world, rabies can affect any mammal, although carnivores and bats are primarily affected. In Arizona, the most commonly affected species are brown bats, gray foxes, and skunks.


Wildlife rabies continues to be an increasing threat to human and animal health in many countries. Some states have introduced and distributed oral rabies vaccine baits to help control the virus in wildlife populations such as coyotes, raccoons, and skunks.  Interestingly, some countries and islands have a rabies-free status due to successful elimination programs and rigorous quarantine regulations.


Please remain cautious around unfamiliar animals especially those that exhibit abnormal behavior. Report abnormal animal behavior and animal bites to your physician and appropriate authorities, such as the public health department, animal control, veterinarian, or wildlife agencies. Discourage the congregation of stray and feral animals, avoid outdoor feeding that may attract wildlife, and make sure your pets are current on rabies vaccinations.


Concerning wildlife: -Quietly observe wildlife from a respectable distance. -Do not approach or handle unfamiliar animals or animals exhibiting abnormal behavior; injuries (bites, scratches) and zoonotic disease transmission are risks. -Report abnormal animal behavior and animal bites to appropriate authorities such as animal control, veterinarian, public health agency, and/or wildlife agency. -Keep pets up-to-date on their vaccines; limit exposure to wildlife by keeping cats indoors and dogs on leashes.

 

Learn more about the rabies virus in the tables below:




 

Numbers to contact to report suspected rabies cases in Mohave County

  • Mohave County Department of Public Health: (928) 753-0714

  • Mohave County Animal Control: (928) 753-2727

  • Arizona Game and Fish Department Kingman: (928) 692-7700

 

References & Resources


Kahn, Cynthia M. “Nervous System.” The Merck Veterinary Manual. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck, 2005. 1067-071. Print.


Murphy, Frederick A. “Rhabdoviridae.” Veterinary Virology. San Diego: Academic, 1999. 429-38. Print.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) information on rabies: http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/




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