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Rabid Stray Dog Spurs Shots for Shelter Workers: Report

THURSDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- A newly published case history highlights the importance of rabies vaccinations for pets and animal shelter workers.

The report details a situation involving a stray dog found in rural Minnesota and taken to a North Dakota animal shelter in March 2010. When it was later learned that the dog had rabies, public health officials began an investigation using animal shelter records and a public notification to identify people and animals who may have had contact with the rabid dog.

As a result, post-exposure rabies vaccine was given to 21 people, including nine animal shelter workers and one volunteer. Because of potential contact with the rabid dog, 36 dogs were euthanized, including some that had been housed with the rabid animal and others that might have been exposed and were not up-to-date on their rabies shots.

As of December 2010, there had been no reported cases of rabies in any of the humans or dogs included in the investigation.

Rabies is a fatal disease. Animal shelter workers who may come into contact with rabid animals should consider receiving rabies vaccination before starting their duties, the report authors recommended.

In addition, the case report, which appears in the Jan. 7 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emphasizes the importance of giving domestic animals routine rabies vaccinations.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration outlines how people can protect themselves from rabies.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, Jan. 6, 2011

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