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7/23/11

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Bat Tested Positive for Rabies in Galion

One person has been treated for rabies exposure after being bitten by a bat that tested positive for the disease. It is the first positive animal rabies test result in Galion since 2008.

A resident found the bat in her home and attempted to capture and release it outdoors when she was bitten. It couldn’t be determined whether pets in the home had also been exposed.

Rabies is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal. Cats and dogs are typically infected in encounters with wild animals.

The disease is preventable in domestic animals through regular vaccinations. In humans, it can be prevented after exposure if medical treatment — a two-week series of shots — is given promptly. But once symptoms appear, rabies is almost invariably fatal.

This year, 18 bats and 3 raccoons have tested positive for rabies statewide.

Health department staff wants to make sure everyone is aware that rabies is present in the city. Stephanie Zmuda, Environmental Health Director, said, “Residents need to know if they have a pet cat or dog, it's critical to have them vaccinated against rabies. The vaccine is highly protective against rabies and may save your pet’s life." It is also important to avoid contact with unknown and wild animals, which are more likely to be infected with rabies virus.

Symptoms of rabies in animals include unusually aggressive or lethargic behavior, biting, darting eye movements or drooling.

Any person bitten, scratched or in contact with an animal suspected of being rabid is advised to wash the wound, seek immediate medical attention and contact the health department at 419-468-1075 x 1265.

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