Arkansas child bitten by skunk tests positive for rabies virus

RANDOLPH COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - A Pocahontas child tested positive for rabies virus after skunk bite.

Officer George Pratt said the incident is the first human rabies case he's seen since he started working for Pocahontas Animal Control in 2008.

“He shot the skunk 3 times and he thought it was dead,” said Pratt. “He went to reach down to pick up the skunk and it came up and bit him in the hand.”

Pratt said the child then ran inside his grandparents' home to tell them what happened.

“The veterinarian beheaded the skunk and sent it off to the lab up in Little Rock and it was confirmed positive so the child received all the shots for rabies,” Pratt said.

According to Pratt, rabies cases have recently become more prevalent in the area.

“This year, we've had a large amount of calls on rabid skunks,” Pratt said. “I just shot one a week ago at the Whitewood Furniture Store. He was out there chasing people down and I got over there and shot him in the road ditch and sent his head off. The next day, it came back positive.”

He advises residents to call animal control if they see a skunk out during the day.

“It's not normal for them to be out during the day, they run at night time,” Pratt said. “Right now, rabies is breaking out quite thick and as it gets warmer there will probably be more cases.”

Pratt also advised the virus doesn't only spread through bites. Depending on where the virus enters the body, he said it could spread quickly to the brain.

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