Rabies Vaccinations And Wildlife Awareness Save Lives

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Most Tennesseans have never seen an animal with rabies or known a family who has lost a loved one to the deadly disease. While that’s a testament to vigorous statewide rabies vaccination efforts that started in 1954, the Tennessee Department of Health is reminding residents this disease could make a comeback if people become complacent.

“In the five years before dog vaccinations were required in our state, ten residents died from rabies,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner. “The last human rabies death in Tennessee was in 2002.

It’s important for all Tennesseans to know rabies has not been eradicated; it is still a threat that requires ongoing efforts by animal owners and others to prevent future suffering and deaths.”

City and county health departments across Tennessee are now offering rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats. The vaccinations are important to protect not only pets, but to provide a barrier between wildlife rabies and humans. In 2013, there were 37 confirmed cases of rabies in animals in 18 Tennessee counties; the majority of those, 19, were skunks.

“Losing a pet to rabies is traumatic and unnecessary,” said TDH Deputy State Epidemiologist John Dunn, DVM, PhD. “Dogs and cats are protected from rabies through vaccinations. In addition to having pets vaccinated, people can protect themselves and their families from rabies by being aware of potential dangers, taking precautions to avoid animal bites and exposures and seeking medical advice if a bite or exposure occurs.”   

Rabies is transmitted by the saliva of an infected mammal; it cannot be spread by reptiles or fish. It’s important to know, however, that mammals may carry the rabies virus without displaying recognizable signs of infection. For this reason, it’s important to avoid touching any wild animal, especially common carriers such as bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes.

Left untreated, the rabies virus spreads through the central nervous system. First symptoms of rabies in people are fever, headache and weakness or fatigue. As the disease progresses, additional symptoms appear including sleeplessness, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, hallucinations, excitability and hyper salivation (increased production of saliva) and hydrophobia (fear of water). Death usually occurs within days of the onset of these latter symptoms.
In addition to rabies, wild animals may have a variety of other diseases and parasites that can be transmitted to pets, livestock and humans. Raccoons commonly have a roundworm known as Baylisascaris procyonis, which can create severe health issues including organ damage, brain seizures and blindness in humans. The roundworm can live for some time in raccoon droppings, extending its ability to be transmitted to other hosts. Avoiding contact with raccoons and raccoon feces are preventive measures to reduce risks of exposure to the raccoon roundworm.

Learn more about rabies online at http://health.state.tn.us/FactSheets/rabies.htm and www.cdc.gov/rabies/


Help Offered For Tennesseans Suffering From Seasonal Affective Disorder

Based on national estimates, thousands of Tennesseans struggle through the cold and dreary winter season with feelings of prolonged sadness. For an estimated 4 to 6 percent of the population, winter brings about periods of fatigue and in some cases anxiety known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or (SAD).   The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services ... (click for more)

Warren Jasper Named Brigadier General Wendell H. Gilbert Tennessee State Veterans Home Administrator

Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder and Tennessee State Veterans Home Executive Director Ed Harries announced that Warren Anthony Jasper will be the Brigadier General Wendell H. Gilbert Tennessee State Veterans Home Administrator.  The 108-bed State Veterans Home is currently under construction in Clarksville.    Mr. ... (click for more)

Erlanger To Proceed With Manager Bonuses In 2 Steps; Considering Employee Performance Incentive Plan

Erlanger President and CEO Kevin Spiegel said Wednesday night that the hospital plans to proceed with $1.7 million in manager bonuses in two steps. Current participants in the incentive program will receive 50 percent of the approved 2014 performance plan this month. The remaining 50 percent will be paid to the management group in July 2015. At the same time, Mr. Spiegel ... (click for more)

Caldwell Arrested In Rapes Of 2 Women Over 60 In Brainerd, Hixson; Forced His Way Into Homes

Investigators have made an arrest in the rape cases that were reported last weekend. Taken into custody was Derrick Dewayne Caldwell, 30. He is charged with two counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated burglary. Police said two women over 60 years old were raped in Brainerd and in Hixson in separate incidents. In an incident last Thursday, a woman ... (click for more)

A Letter To The NAACP

I believe when a "unarmed" man is evil, he will try to beat a police officer on his head in hopes to knock him out, in hopes to kill him. We saw the bruises on the officer's face.  This evil force tried to take his gun away from him , Proof was in the autopsy.  Why did Michael Brown  try to take his gun away from him? Exactly, to kill the officer.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Last Day Of School

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This story first appeared in the Chattanooga News-Free Press in the early 1980s and every year since then I have been asked repeatedly about it. It is easily the most famous story I have ever written – copies have been sent to me from numerous foreign countries -- and it may be the easiest story I ever wrote. All I did was write what the noted religious psychologist ... (click for more)