Wednesday, October 1, 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

 
Middle school students put school candidates on the hot seat

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Solano focuses on rail safety

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
 
Booz and Brewz benefit for the Blue Star Moms

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

Police search for missing man

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Salvation Army gears up for annual Red Kettle campaign

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

Blessing of the animals slated Sunday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

 
 
Caltrans cancels nighttime Highway 37 closures

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
Theaters primed for bevy of new movies

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

Fairfield police log: Sept. 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9, 2 Comments

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: Sept. 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9, 2 Comments

Fairfield police log: Sept. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9, 2 Comments

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
FBI announces reward for Vacaville bank robber

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A10

American Legion seeks Korean War veterans for award

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Third Annual Ride to Defeat Diabetes is Sunday

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

4-H Achievement Night honors county members

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A10

 
Measure A committee plans weekend precinct walk

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A10

.

US / World

Forest areas reopen after huge fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Hong Kong leader refuses to meet with protesters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Secret Service chief on hot seat for WH breach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Afghan pact signed amid questions on Iraq pullout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Oklahoma man charged with murder in beheading

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Luck, instinct determined fates of volcano hikers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Government confirms first case of Ebola in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Mayor of suburban Los Angeles city killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

Crash, suspicious device lead to 101 closure in LA

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Gov. Brown governor vetoes ethics bills

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 6 Comments

Police on manhunt find pipe bombs in woods

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
California becomes first state to ban plastic bags

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 6 Comments

Bay Area looks to expand overnight transit options

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Gov. Jerry Brown signs California gun restriction

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 13 Comments

.

Living

Today in History: Oct. 1, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Oct. 1, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 1, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

One simple slicing trick to bake a beautiful tart

By Sara Moulton | From Page: B6

 
The flavor of fall – pumpkin pie in a cinnamon bun

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6, 1 Comment

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
Morgan: ‘Can’t believe’ Walmart blaming him

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

 
Royals beat A’s 9-8 in 12 in AL wild-card thriller

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Local report: Rodriguez volleyball team downs Armijo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Pirates’ Volquez looks to continue revival against Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Raiders make Tony Sparano interim coach after firing Allen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Training camp essential for NBA’s new head coaches like Warriors’ Kerr

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

No. 14 Stanford trying to jolt stagnant offense

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NC State coach apologizes for fake injury remarks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NFL says Abdullah should not have been penalized

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NFL has laundry list of verboten celebrations

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Government: NFL TV ‘blackout’ rule unsportsmanlike

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Olympian Michael Phelps apologizes for DUI arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Gravely injured Giants fan sues Dodgers again

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

 
Ex 49ers RB James agrees to terms with Dolphins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
FCC will consider petition to ban ‘Redskins’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

49ers’ Wilhoite filling the injury void at linebacker

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Business

EU says Apple gets illegal tax benefits in Ireland

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Could a merger follow the PayPal-eBay split?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

.

Obituaries

David Earl Butenhoff-Forristall

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Marte Abad Lubag

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Clara May Clift Triplett

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
.

Comics

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

.

Breast Cancer Awareness 2014

Breast cancer in younger women

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA2

Talking with your doctor

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA3

Breast cancer myths

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA4

Diet linked to cancer

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA9

Giving emotional support

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA10

After the treatment

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA12

Join the fight: Get involved

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA15