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. Arkansasusually averages about 50 rabies cases a year but this year they have already reached 150 cases.

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

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

"The bigthings are be cautious about approaching a stray animal whether it is a wildanimal," he said. "Unless youknow the animal, it is very important to stay away from them because when wetry to be friends to them they don't perceive that sometimes."

The popularcarriers of rabies are typically wild animals.

"We're very concerned about the skunk whoseour primary carrier, raccoons, foxes, coyotes and bats can also be carriers ofthe 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 diseasescycles within the wildlife population which are the carriers of it," he explained. "Some yearsas the virus builds up in that population there's just more exposure."

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

"The vast majority of cases are due to bitewound transmission," Rogers shared. "They willdrool, they try to drink and they act like they're choking and water will comeout of their mouth."

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