Rabies Cases Increase Threefold In Kansas

By: Suzie Gilbert Email
By: Suzie Gilbert Email

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Rabies cases in Kansas are up more than 300-percent so far in 2012. The number is raising eyebrows for veterinarians at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Officials have found 13 confirmed cases of rabies in the state since January 1st, that's compared to just four cases in the same time frame in 2011.

"It's not pretty. When your nervous system is messed up like that...They just are crazy. They bang against the walls, they slobber all over and they have foam and stuff. You can tell something is very wrong," Yvonne Fowler, Director of Animal Welfare at Helping Hands Humane Society says she's seen firsthand the impact of rabies infections.

Already this year, state health officials have logged a coyote, a raccoon, four skunks, two bats, two horses, two cows, and one cat with the virus, nine more than in the same time frame last year.

KDHE officials are warning of the increase, encouraging pet and livestock owners to be aware of wild animals.

"Generally they only hunt at night and eat later, so if they're out during the day, something's not right," Fowler said.

The infection is most prevalent in skunks. Officials say Kansas has averaged 68 confirmed cases of rabies a year since 2007, but they say it is preventable.

Vaccines are available for dogs, cats, ferrets, horses, cattle and sheep, and they say although it's not exactly practical to vaccinate all livestock, pets, breeding stock and show animals should be, to protect you and your family.

Proof of a rabies vaccination is required for licensing all pets in Topeka. Most rabies shots last from one to three years.


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