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Rabies cases on the rise in Morgan County

Morgan County hadn't seen a positive rabies case in the last couple of years, but that changed this month. Now, there could be two positive cases in only two weeks.

Posted: Sep 13, 2021 9:14 PM
Updated: Sep 14, 2021 11:08 AM

Morgan County hadn't seen a positive rabies case in the last couple of years, but that changed this month. Now, there could be two positive cases in only two weeks.

"I just don't want people to think that it doesn't exist anymore, that's the main thing," says Dr. Steve Osborne, a local vet and the Morgan County rabies inspector.

Osborne animal clinic

Dr. Osborne says just because there are fewer cases of rabies, doesn't mean the threat isn't there. He says within the last two weeks, "we had a client bring in a bat that was either killed or found dead by their dog and was playing with it."

They sent the bat to a lab for tests. Osborne says, "it came back positive, so it was the first positive bat we've had in a couple of years here in Morgan County."

One positive rabies case every couple of years is expected. However, one week later, Dr. Osborne saw the same thing.

"Six or seven days later an identical situation, another client found their dog playing with a bat that, um, was in the backyard, and they got it away from the dog," explains Dr. Osborne.

They are still waiting for the results from the second bat, and should have them by Tuesday afternoon.

"It's quite likely that it is positive, but you never know, you know," says Dr. Osborne.

He isn't concerned about a rabies outbreak yet, but he wants pet owners to be aware as humans are more at risk than vaccinated animals.

"People, who don't get the pre-exposure rabies shots, like our pets do, are really much more susceptible to it than their pets," explains Dr. Osborne.

If someone is exposed to rabies and does not get the necessary treatment, Dr. Osborne says, "you're not able to be saved, you will die."

He says vaccinating our animals against rabies is the best thing we can do to prevent the virus. That way even if our pets do interact with a wild animal, they won't pass any diseases along to their owners.

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