Sunday, September 14, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

When a rabies scare hits home

By
From page D4 | March 16, 2014 |

If everything you know about rabies comes from watching reruns of “Old Yeller,” it’s time for a refresher course.

I was forced to learn more when a friend called me in distress last summer. She had been trapping feral cats for a spay-and-release program, when one ungrateful wild thing latched onto her finger, giving her one terrific bite before disappearing.

At first she didn’t think much about it. She washed her hands and put on a bandage. A lifelong cat lover, she had weathered her share of bites and scratches. But when she delivered the other captured cats to her local vet, they urged her to get to an emergency room right away.

Still unconvinced, she waited another day until her finger started to change color. When she finally got to a Sacramento hospital’s emergency department, she faced a decision. Rabies is fatal, so it is better to be safe than sorry – or in this case, possibly dead. So in the course of a week, she underwent a series of rabies shots – the first ones administered right into her damaged finger. I can’t repeat her description of the pain, so use your imagination.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year an estimated 40,000 persons receive a rabies preventive treatment called post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) due to a potential exposure to rabies. And while most cases of rabies are found in wild animals, the majority of people in the United States receive PEP after close contact with a domestic animal.

Before my friend’s incident, I had only thought of rabies in the context of pet vaccinations, which seem due almost as often as taxes. But having your dogs and cats vaccinated against rabies, as required by law, is the best way to prevent the spread of the disease. Thanks to our vaccination laws, it is exposure to wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats that pose the largest threat in the U.S. A vaccinated pet that mixes it up with a skunk probably won’t bring the disease home to his owners. Your unvaccinated pet, however, if suspected of exposure to rabies, can be quarantined for six months, or even euthanized.

No one should take rabies lightly. It is a dangerous virus spread through the saliva of animals. All mammals, including humans, can get it. It is one of the few viruses that cross the boundary of species. And although it is rare for a human in the U.S. to die of rabies, it is a global health problem that kills more than 55,000 people worldwide every year.

How can you protect yourself and your family from rabies? In addition to vaccinating your pets, avoid contact with wild animals. If you are bitten, wash the wound well with soap and water and see your doctor. You may also be required to contact animal control.

My friend no longer traps feral cats. She has made a complete recovery, and her only reminder of her brush with death is when I ask if she’s wearing her rabies tags.

Marilyn Ranson is a public relations specialist with NorthBay Healthcare in Fairfield, which is a partner of the Solano Coalition for Better Health.

Marilyn Ranson

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 4 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • LilMarch 16, 2014 - 9:31 am

    My little 8 year old nephew was recently bit by a cat. It was in their backyard but they hadn't seen the cat before and it was probably a stray. Within hours, the bite started swelling up so he was taken to emergency and put on antibiotics and received his first rabies shot. He has two more in the series. We now call him Rabies Boy. Just so glad that he received medical attention and his parents didn't just brush off the bite. Alternatives could have been awful.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JimboMarch 16, 2014 - 11:34 pm

    The rabies shot for a cat bite was way overboard. All that is needed are prescribed antibiotics and an up to date tetanus shot. Cat bites can be dangerous both to other animals and to humans. In their mouths, all cats carry a large number of bacteria that are capable of causing tissue infections in bite wounds. One of the more common is highly pathogenic bacterium known as Pasteurella multocida. An infected cat bite wound will be red, swollen and painful, and the infection can spread through the surrounding tissues, causing a condition called cellulitis, or through the blood to other areas of the body, causing a condition called septicemia (often called "blood poisoning"). Infected people may suffer from fever and flu-like symptoms and, rarely, may die if proper medical treatment is not sought. Children, the elderly, ill and immunosuppressed individuals are particularly vulnerable to developing severe infections if bitten by a cat.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • woodsman001March 19, 2014 - 1:58 am

    Someone is keeping their brains in a dark place. You are 4 times more likely to get rabies from any stray cat today than from a dog bite. In fact, the prevalence of rabies in all the free-roaming cats today makes getting post-exposure rabies shots after a cat-scratch or bite mandatory in most localities. This is why the CDC has issued warnings to cease and desist with all those failed and highly illegal TNR (trap, neuter, re-abandon) programs that all the cat-ladies are trying to practice in their communities. They don't understand that giving a rabies shot to a cat that already has rabies does not cure it of rabies. Many rabid cats have been adopted direct from shelters that took cats in from unknown living conditions with an unknown exposure to the rabies virus. (The gestation period for rabies being 21 to 240 days, sometimes up to 11 months. The cat, after vetted, can transmit rabies many months later during the last 2 weeks before it dies of rabies. Sometimes not even showing any symptoms up to its death.) The families who adopted those rabid wild-harvested cats that were adopted out by shelters then end-up in financial ruin due to all the medical expenses and the mandatory 6-month state-monitored quarantines for all their other previously owned pets. ANY cat harvested from outdoors without a previously known vaccination history or unknown exposure to rabies MUST, by national and international law, be quarantined for a MINIMUM of 6-months in a state-monitored double-walled enclosure before it can be considered relatively safe to be around any other domesticated pets or humans. Then and only then can you be relatively certain that giving it a rabies vaccination might prevent it from getting and transmitting rabies in the future. To tell someone that they shouldn't get a rabies shot after any cat bite today makes you criminally negligent and criminally irresponsible, just like those TNR fools. People could die from your ignorance.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JimboMarch 16, 2014 - 11:43 pm

    Rabies does not manifest itself as at the bite location as swelling or what is described in this article AT ALL. The first symptoms of rabies may be very similar to those of the flu including general weakness or discomfort, fever, or headache. These symptoms may last for days. There may be also discomfort or a prickling or itching sensation at the site of bite, progressing within days to symptoms of cerebral dysfunction, anxiety, confusion, agitation. As the disease progresses, the person may experience delirium, abnormal behavior, hallucinations, and insomnia.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

The show goes on for American Canyon comic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1

 
David Lew: Chuckles keep coming despite cancer battle

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Walk to End Alzheimer’s brings out supporters

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Council candidate leads cleanup day, youth rally

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
How to help prevent sports-related eye injuries

By Betsey Campbell, MPH | From Page: C4

Birthday party brings writers, musicians in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Beware of invading plant species

By Kathy Low | From Page: C4, 2 Comments

 
Vacaville Grad Nite needs volunteers

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

CHP announces senior driving class

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5, 7 Comments

 
Solano drug court plans reunion

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A5

 
Time to sell? Who can say with certainty?

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

Nut Tree Airport to see runway work

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B7, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Risk a key factor in investment decisions

By Mark Sievers | From Page: B8

 
County graduates complete basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

Suisun City police: Sept. 12, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 12, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

.

US / World

AP Enterprise: al-Qaida’s Syrian cell alarms US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Football coach moves game for daughter’s wedding

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
The old ways are no way for Army drill sergeants

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: C6

Rescuers end ocean search for Navy fighter pilot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
2 homes destroyed in Northern California wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Feds chase treasure hunter turned fugitive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Will Apple’s digital wallet kill the card swipe?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Transgender girl crowned homecoming princess

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Man sues after losing 5 toes in Colorado jail

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Syrians attacked in Lebanon after soldiers killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Ukraine government repels rebel attack on airport

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Pope urges world to shed apathy toward new threats

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

 
Just take care of it

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 12 Comments

 
Campaign signs mean little, really

By Glen Faison | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

Hold the line with Local 39

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoons: Sept. 14, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A8

Sound off for Sept. 14, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Know of any new taxes?

By Rod Keck | From Page: A9, 14 Comments

 
President a success or failure?

By Thomas Sowell | From Page: A9, 11 Comments

Scottish independence tied to national identity

By Megan Mcardle | From Page: A9

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Sept. 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Sept. 14, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

‘Tammi’ and I are getting serious, but her friends don’t like me

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 14, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C7

 
Americans Ferris, Fowler on Booker Prize shortlist

By The Associated Press | From Page: C7

NASCAR’s Kenseth behind anti-bullying kids’ book

By The Associated Press | From Page: C7

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

Solano volleyball preview: Falcons look to repeat as BVC champs

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
49ers look for win against Bears in Levi’s opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Raiders’ Carr to make home debut vs. familiar foe

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Rodney walks in run in 10th to give A’s 3-2 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Mayweather remains unbeaten despite bite complaint

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Travis Bowl results

By Daily Republic | From Page: B3

Stars Recreation results

By Daily Republic | From Page: B3

 
Contador beats Froome to win Vuelta 20th stage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

DeJoria, Enders-Stevens top NHRA qualifying

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
McIlroy, Horschel tied for Tour Championship lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

No. 15 Stanford rebounds from loss, tops Army 35-0

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
College football Top 25

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

This date in sports history for Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Sports on TV for Sunday, Sept. 14, 2013

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B5

Kyle Busch wins Trucks Series race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Kevin Harvick wins again for JR Motorsports

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Where’s the tape? America responds to video

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Ambrose leaving NASCAR to return to Australia

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Gordon covets elusive 5th title as Chase begins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Rice saga puts quiet Ravens owner in spotlight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Peterson booked and released from Texas jail

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Business

Hackerspaces help techies turn ideas into reality

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
On the money: Options abound for selling used mobile phones

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

US threatened Yahoo with huge fine over emails

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Recalls this week: smoke alarms, generators

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

Tech Tips: Sprint’s good rates come with a price

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
Sponsors keep close watch on NFL investigation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

.

Obituaries

Patricia C. “Pat” Child

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Barbara J. McGee

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Olga Mae Schaffer Lilienthal

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Minnie Lee Dixon

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics