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K-State Lab Finds More Cases of Rabies in 2015

A testing lab at Kansas State University has seen a sharp increase in rabies cases this year. Rolan Davis, with the K-State Rabies Lab, says they’ve identified 30 cases so far this year, more than double the cases at this time last year.  The positive tests this year have come mostly from skunks and the increase may be caused by a rising skunk population. Davis says pets can be especially at risk of rabies exposure.


“A lot of times these skunks are looking for a fight. That’s what the virus does. So skunks lose their fear of both humans and animals, come into the yard and expose the family pet,” says Davis.
 
Davis says vaccinating pets against rabies helps keep humans safer because it stops pets from transmitting the virus to people. 
 
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A testing lab at Kansas State University has seen a sharp increase in rabies cases this year.  Rolan Davis, with the lab, says they’ve identified 30 cases so far this year, compared with just 14 a year ago.  The positive tests have come mostly from skunks and the increase may be caused by a rising skunk population. Davis says people should stay away from wild animals and consult a doctor if bitten by a wild animal, especially a skunk.
“Skunks are guilty until proven innocent, which means if you have exposure to a skunk we’ll always consider that as a rabies exposure unless we can test it as rabies negative here at our laboratories,” says Davis.
 
Davis says vaccinating pets against rabies protects both pets and humans.  Vaccinations stop pets from transmitting the virus to people.
 

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