Rabies confirmed in bat found at Eugene home.
Health officials have confirmed that a bat found at a Eugene home last week carried rabies and are cautioning county residents to avoid the animals.
The bat was found Sept. 14 after it was killed by a house cat belonging to a Eugene family. The cat brought the bat into the house.
It is the first confirmed case of rabies in a wild animal in Lane County this year. The county can go an entire year without seeing a confirmed rabies case, but it's also not unusual to have several in a year.
Health officials said the case does not mean that rabies is any more prevalent and said people should not be unduly concerned. But they said the diagnosis underlines the importance of having all house pets vaccinated against the disease.
"This is a virus that is in the animal community, and it has been for eons," said Dr. Patrick Luedtke, the chief public health officer for Lane County. "There's no big cause for alarm.
"But for persons who are pet owners, especially those pets that have a lot of human contact like cats and dogs, they should vaccinate their pets."
The recent case involves a family with two cats, only one of which had been vaccinated against rabies. Health laws require the unvaccinated animal either to be quarantined for six months or euthanized, while the vaccinated cat must be revaccinated and confined to its home for the next 45 days.
Luedtke said the family has elected to quarantine both animals for the required time. A county health officer will contact the family to check that the quarantine is being observed, but he said compliance depends largely on cooperation by the pet owners.
Lane County residents and veterinarians are being warned that other animals could be exposed to the rabies virus and to be alert to signs of the disease. Rabies is a viral disease that affects the nervous system of humans and mammals and is almost always fatal once symptoms begin.
The virus is carried in the saliva of an infected animal. Transmission can occur when that animal bites or, in rare cases, scratches another animal or person.
The current case was discovered when the family contacted the county's environmental health program, which recovered the dead bat. It was sent to the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Oregon State University, which confirmed that it carried the bat rabies virus.
Oregon has had 12 confirmed rabies cases in animals so far this year, 11 in bats and one in a fox.
There are several strains of rabies found in the United States - including strains in bats, skunks, foxes and raccoons - but only bat rabies has been found in Oregon.
Other animals that have tested positive for rabies in Oregon have contracted it from bats.
People should stay away from bats and not handle them.
A bat bite should be cleaned immediately and thoroughly with soap and water, and medical attention should be sought. If it can be done easily, the bat should be captured and the bite reported to the Lane County public health department.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||Local News; Though not a cause for alarm, health experts say it's a reminder to have pets vaccinated|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Sep 21, 2012|
|Previous Article:||Junction City eyes school repairs.|