Spring and summer mean having fun in the sun and enjoying many outdoor activities. Keeping your family safe is also important. The Tennessee Department of Health reminds Tennesseans that preventing exposure of people and their pets to the rabies virus is a priority, especially during this time of year.
Keep vaccinations up-to-date for all dogs and cats, as required by Tennessee law and local ordinances. Owners are urged to have their dogs (3 months of age or older) and cats (6 months of age or older) vaccinated. Store purchased vaccines are not legally acceptable.
Vaccination clinics will be held today, Saturday, April 16th from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at the Liberty Community Center, at the Alexandria Parking Lot, and at the DeKalb Middle School Parking Lot. A fee of $7.00 will be charged for each innoculation.
For more information contact an Environmental Health Specialist at the DeKalb County Health Department at 597-7599.
Humans can be exposed to rabies when attempting to assist, feed or handle wild animals. If a wild or domestic animal is seen as ill or acting strangely, it should be reported to your local animal control agency. Bats in particular should not be handled. If a bat is found inside, in a swimming pool, or brought home by your pets, use precautions and consult your local health department.
Rabies is a deadly virus transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal. Rabies infection occurs primarily in wildlife in Tennessee, but it can be transmitted to any mammal, including humans and family pets. Bites are the most common means of transmission; contact with saliva from an infected animal can also be a concern.
Citizens can take the following actions to help prevent the spread of rabies:
Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come into contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately.
Keep children away from any wild or dead animals. Educate them not to touch or attempt to pick up, feed or handle any wild or unfamiliar domestic animals, especially those that are or appear to be sick or injured.
Do not disturb bats. Instead, consult your local health department or animal control agency for assistance in dealing with potential exposure to bats.
For more information or assistance with a potential rabies exposure, call your local health department or the Tennessee Department of Health emergency line at 615-741-7247.