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Nevada County’s Public Health Department has confirmed 2 cases of rabies in Western Nevada County in a news released today.

During the past two weeks, two bats have tested positive for rabies in Western Nevada County.  Both of these animals exhibited unusual behavior.  This is the first time rabies has been laboratory confirmed in bats in Nevada County since 2009.  Dr. Karen Milman, the Nevada County Health Officer, is urging residents to be vigilant and minimize exposure to wild and unvaccinated animals.  “You should never try to approach or catch a bat or any wild animal you find outside.”

The Public Health Department encourages residents and their pets to remain safe by following these recommendations:

  • Do not pick up or play with any wild animals.
  • Keep vaccinations up-to-date for all dogs, cats, and other animals you own.
  • Seek immediate veterinary assistance for your pet if your pet is bitten by a wild animal or exposed to a bat.
  • If you have been bitten by or have had direct contact with a bat, or awakened from sleep to find a bat in the room, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.  Do not try to nurse sick, wild animals to health.

Rabies is a virus that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals.  Rabies is present throughout California; most cases occur in skunks and bats.  Humans can get rabies after being bitten by an infected animal.  Rabies can also be contracted when saliva from a rabid animal gets directly into a person’s eyes, nose, mouth or a wound.  People usually know when they have been bitten by a bat, but bats have very small teeth and the bite mark may not be easy to see.

The time period between the bite and development of symptoms can be weeks to months.  Without preventive treatment, rabies is a fatal disease.  Treatment is available but rabies immune globulin and a vaccine series must begin as soon as possible.

For more information on rabies:  http://www.cdph.ca.gov/healthinfo/discond/pages/rabies.aspx

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