Second peak of rabies season in Arkansas

Second peak of rabies season in Arkansas

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- A second peak of rabies cases is on the horizon according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

There have been 105 confirmed rabies cases in Arkansas this year with 26 in Pulaski County and 13 in Lonoke County. Although there have been very few cases in Region 8, Veterinarian Rodney Vaughn said residents should still take precautions.

"Nationwide and in the state there seems to be a peak early in the Spring then we have a smaller peak in late summer early Fall," Vaughn said.

Eighty-eight of the 105 cases were confirmed in skunks and 12 in bats. Vaughn said the disease is generally carried by wild animals like skunks, bats, foxes and coyotes. He said the best thing to do is avoid coming in contact with all wild animals. 

"One of the major signs if you see an animal out during the day that is usually out at night," he said.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health,the state first passed 100 rabies cases in 2002 with 131. The state only saw about 34 to 60 cases from 2003 to 2011. Health officials said the increase is likely due to a greater awareness of rabies symptoms in animals.

"Generally speaking it’s a pretty safe area but the primary importance is to vaccinate your pets and stay away from wildlife that you usually see at night," Vaughn said. 

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