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DETROIT – A dog from Detroit tested positive for rabies – a first since 2011, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).
Officials said the 6-month-old dog was never vaccinated against rabies. The last rabid dog to be discovered in the state was in Oakland County in 2011.
“The rabies virus is present in the saliva and brain tissue of an infected animal,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy for Health. “People can be exposed to rabies if they are bitten by a rabid animal. Other possible routes of exposure are infectious material in the eyes, nose, or mouth, or fresh cuts in the skin. Make sure pets are vaccinated and avoid contact with stray or wild animals to reduce the risk of exposure to this potentially fatal disease. “
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Officials said tests to determine the exposure of the infected dog will continue. The state is working with the Detroit Health Department to take all necessary precautions.
“We are taking proactive steps to ensure the safety of residents and their families,” said Denise Fair, chief public health officer for the Detroit Department of Health. “We will have teams going door-to-door in the area to educate and educate residents about the importance of having their pet vaccinated. We will also look for other injured or sick animals. “
Officials said the infected dog’s family reported that there had been an altercation with another animal in their yard. People who came into close contact with the dog were referred to health care providers.
A total of seven rabid animals – including the dog – were discovered in 2021. The six other animals are bats that have been identified in Clinton, Ingham, Kent, Midland, Oakland, and Ottawa counties.
“Animal and animal owners should contact their veterinarian about vaccinating animals against rabies,” said state veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland. “Although the full extent of the disease in Michigan’s skunks and bats is unknown, it is important to understand that rabies is out there. Vaccinating animals and avoiding contact with wildlife help limit the spread of the disease. “
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