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September 16, 2011

For More Information Contact

  • E. Sue Cantrell, M.D., director, LENOWISCO Health District, 276-328-8000
  • Robert Parker, public information officer, Western Region, 540-381-7100, x 151 or 540-580-2960

BAT IN LEE COUNTY CONFIRMED RABID

(JONESVILLE, Va.) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that a bat collected in August in the Cumberland Gap Historical Park was rabid. The bat was found dead in a cave by a U.S. Park Service employee and tested by CDC.

Since 2006, the number of animals reported to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and determined to be rabid has ranged from 564 to 730 each year, statewide. Rabid bats, skunks and dogs have been confirmed in the LENOWISCO Health District, which includes Lee, Scott and Wise counties and the City of Norton.

“This serves to remind everyone that rabies is a real threat in our area,” said Sue Cantrell, M.D., director of the LENOWISCO Health District. “It provides an opportunity to remind everyone that taking simple steps can help to avoid potential exposure to rabies.”

To reduce the spread of rabies among wild animals, pets and people, follow these simple steps;

  • Vaccinate pets and livestock, and keep vaccinations current;
  • Do not feed or try to handle wild or stray animals;
  • Avoid all sick or strange-acting animals;
  • Cover garbage cans and do not leave pet food outside;
  • Do not keep wild animals as pets. It is dangerous and illegal;
  • Do not touch or pick up dead animals;
  • Leave live bats alone and do not handle dead bats;
  • Do not let your pet play with bats;
  • “Bat proof” your house and buildings. Cover openings with screens or other materials; and
  • Call your doctor if an animal bites you and call your vet if your pet is bitten. Be sure to report any such incidents to your local health department.

Avoiding exposure to rabies is the best defense against this deadly virus. If you have exposure to blood, saliva, brain or spinal tissue from a domestic or wild animal, report it to VDH immediately. Early treatment that takes place prior to symptoms occurring is very effective.  However, without treatment the disease is almost always fatal.

For more information, visit http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/Epidemiology/DEE/Rabies/ or call the LENOWISCO Health District at 276-328-8000.


Last Updated: 09-28-2011

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