Denton County Public Health (DCPH), in partnership with Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and Denton County Sheriff’s Office, have confirmed rabies in one puppy from a litter west of Krum, near the intersection of Plainview Road and Knox Road.
At this time, DCPH does not believe there is ongoing risk, but prior exposure is important. Area residents with potential exposure to any of the puppies from this litter between November 19th and December 7th are being notified via emergency alert phone notifications. Individuals who were potentially exposed are encouraged to contact DCPH immediately at 940-349-2909 to speak with an epidemiology investigator.
“Rabies is a rare disease in domestic pets, but if contracted, almost always a fatal condition in humans,” stated Dr. Matt Richardson, DCPH Director. “We want to know if anyone was exposed to these puppies between these dates so they can begin a rabies vaccination series immediately.”
Dr. Marty Buchanan, Denton County Health Authority, confirms the potential risk and need for prevention, saying, “It’s important to understand the clinical risk of even exposure to saliva from infected animals. You don’t need to be bitten--merely an exposure to fluids from these animals could be very dangerous. Rabies vaccine is effective in preventing people from getting rabies.”
Exposure could include a puppy nipping, biting, or licking an individual. Postexposure prophylaxis, via vaccine and possible human rabies immune globulin (HRIG), is recommended for those with exposure to these puppies.
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rabies is a preventable viral disease transmitted through the bite or scratch of a rabid animal. Rabies infects the central nervous system, and without prompt postexposure prophylaxis, rabies is fatal.
DCPH advises individuals to take the following steps to minimize risk of contracting rabies:
- Leave all wildlife and unknown animals alone.
- If you are bitten, scratched, or unsure, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need postexposure prophylaxis. Rabies in people is 100% preventable through prompt appropriate medical care.
- Vaccinate your pets and visit your veterinarian regularly to protect your pets and family.
Additional information on rabies, postexposure prophylaxis, and prevention can be found at CDC.gov/rabies/. Information on rabies cases and statistics in Texas can be found at DSHS.texas.gov/idcu/disease/rabies/. Information about Texas rabies vaccination requirements can be found at DSHS.texas.gov/idcu/disease/rabies/vaccine/pets/.