The City of Amarillo, including the Amarillo Public Health Department, is offering tips on how to prevent rabies.
As of April 10, nine animals tested positive for rabies in Potter and Randall counties. Of these nine positive tests, six are skunks and one is a cow. This is an increase from five positive tests in 2018.
“If untreated, rabies is a nearly uniformly fatal viral infection spread by the bite of an infected animal through its saliva,” said Casie Stoughton, City of Amarillo Director of Public Health. “It is important to make sure all of our pets are vaccinated and to report all animal bites for prompt rabies evaluation.”
The most effective ways to prevent human cases are:
- Keep vaccinations up-to-date for all pets, horses, and valuable livestock.
- Avoid contact with strays and wild animals and report animal bites promptly.
- Do not touch, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
- Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals (wild or domestic) even if the animals appear friendly.
- Call a local Animal Control or Management and Welfare office about removing stray animals in your neighborhood.
- Seek immediate veterinary assistance for your pet if the pet is bitten by a wild animal.
- Never adopt wild animals, bring them into your home or try to nurse sick wild animals to health.
- Animals do not have to be aggressive or behave strangely to have rabies. Changes in any animal’s normal behavior can be early signs of rabies.
- Maintain homes and other buildings so bats cannot get inside.
- Bats that are on the ground, unable to fly or are active during the day are more likely to be rabid. Such bats are often easily approached but should never be handled.
If you are bitten by an animal, thoroughly wash the wound with soap and water.
See a medical professional and report the bite to Animal Management and Welfare or animal control officials.
All animal bites are reportable to Animal Management and Welfare, according to City of Amarillo ordinance. Call the 911 dispatch system or the non-emergency line at (806) 378.3092. If outside the City of Amarillo, reports should be made to a local police department or sheriff’s office.