Lewisville and Denton County officials are urging residents to take basic precautions against rabies after several reports of animal infection within the county and one case of human infection last week in Lewisville.Lewisville residents can get $15 rabies vaccinations for their pets from Animal Wellness Center, which has a mobile clinic that comes to Lewisville at 1150 W. Main Street.
The case in Lewisville involves a resident who encountered a skunk near the intersection of Edmonds Lane and Bellaire Drive. The resident was approached by the skunk and suffered multiple bites. The animal was tested and determined to be positive for rabies.
Denton County saw 25 positive rabies cases in animals in 2011, and has had 9 cases reported this year. Rabies reports statewide were higher than usual last year, particularly in the North Texas and Central Texas regions.
Health officials ask the public to take precautions such as keeping family pets vaccinated against rabies, and avoiding contact with wild animals. Not all wild animals are infected with rabies, but not all infected animals appear sick, so any contact is best avoided.
Skunks and bats are the most common carries of the rabies virus, but household pets are at a greater risk of becoming infected and possibly transmitting the disease to humans because of the increased presence of the disease. People can contract rabies from an animal bite or scratch or if an infected animal’s saliva comes into contact with a person’s eyes, mouth, nose or an open wound.
Anyone bitten by an animal should quickly wash the area with soap and water, apply an antiseptic, and immediately contact their health provider to determine if further treatment is needed.
Lewisville residents who believe that they, their child or their outdoor pet may have come into physical contact with a skunk during the past seven days is asked to call Lewisville Animal Services at 972.219.3478.
Clinic Hours for Lewisville:
Tues & Thurs: 3pm - 7pm
Fri: 8am - 1pm
Sat: 8am - 1pm
Sun: 11am - 4pm
The most effective ways to prevent rabies exposure:
- Avoid contact with wild animals, even if they seem friendly or tame. Do not feed wild animals, and do not keep them as pets.
- Do not touch sick, injured, or dead animals; report them to Lewisville Animal Services by calling 972.219.3478.
- Keep vaccinations updated for all cats, dogs, and ferrets. By law, you must have a veterinarian vaccinate your dogs and cats against rabies. Keeping your pets vaccinated protects them, as well as your family.
- Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. Seek veterinary assistance if your animal is bitten by a wild animal.
- Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.
- Consider vaccinating livestock. Animals that have frequent contact with humans (e.g., in petting zoos, fairs) and horses traveling interstate should be currently vaccinated against rabies.
- Take extra precaution around wild animals that seem tame or friendly, or typically-nocturnal animals (skunks, bats, raccoons, etc.) that you see during the day; these are signs that the animal may be rabid, and residents should report them to animal control.
Additional information on stopping the spread of rabies can be found at www.dshs.state.tx.us/idcu/disease/rabies or www.cdc.gov/rabies/ .