Warning signs of rabies - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Warning signs of rabies

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -  A dog tested positive for rabies over the weekend in Conway. According to the Arkansas Department of Health, rabies cases are on the rise in Arkansas. 

This year the amount of animals found with rabies tripled. Arkansas usually averages about 50 rabies cases a year but this year they have already reached 150 cases.

"Rabies can be non-seasonal but we do tend to associate it more with the warmer summer months, spring, summer, fall because that's when the wild animals are more active," said Dr. Everett Rogers with Jonesboro Family Pet Hospital. 

Rogers said although Craighead County hasn't had a rabies case in several years, kids should not approach stray animals.  

"The big things are be cautious about approaching a stray animal whether it is a wild animal," he said. "Unless you know the animal, it is very important to stay away from them because when we try to be friends to them they don't perceive that sometimes."

The popular carriers of rabies are typically wild animals.

"We're very concerned about the skunk whose our primary carrier, raccoons, foxes, coyotes and bats can also be carriers of the virus," Rogers said. 

He said it's unusual to have many rabies cases during this time of year.

"The rabies virus like a lot of other diseases cycles within the wildlife population which are the carriers of it," he explained. "Some years as the virus builds up in that population there's just more exposure."

Rogers said although an animal may look harmless, petting can often lead to biting.

"The vast majority of cases are due to bite wound transmission," Rogers shared. "They will drool, they try to drink and they act like they're choking and water will come out of their mouth."

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