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/


Dr. Mary Anna Sanders Joins Parkridge East Hospital Staff

OB/GYN Mary Anna Sanders, D.O., has joined the medical staff of Parkridge East Hospital. A Chattanooga native and graduate of Girls Preparatory School, Dr. Sanders earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Lee University and a Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Atlanta. She completed a residency in obstetrics and ... (click for more)

Shriner Luncheon To Honor Morning Pointe Resident

Morning Pointe of Collegedale at Greenbriar Cove hosted a Shriner's luncheon to honor resident Rayford McLaurin.  Mr. McLaurin has dedicated well over 50 years of service as a Shriner for the Alhambra Shrine on East Brainerd Road. He was presented with an Outstanding Service Award by the Shriner's International Chattanooga Oasis of Tennessee.  He has served in ... (click for more)

City Council Presents Potential Ordinance To Address Noise Level Downtown

Members of the Chattanooga City Council presented a potential ordinance to address concerns about the noise level downtown. If passed, the ordinance will put limits on both dB(A) and dB(C) levels of sound. It was noted, "When we compare our dB level, it is clear that Chattanooga is lower than Nashville and Knoxville." However, this comparison only takes dB(A) levels into consideration. ... (click for more)

Man Shot On Ohls Avenue While Working In His Yard

A Chattanooga man was shot Tuesday evening, while working in his yard. At approximately 8:55 p.m., Chattanooga Police responded to 4217 Ohls Ave. for a shooting. Officers located 34-year-old Daniel Marlowe suffering from a single gunshot wound to his hip.  Mr. Marlowe stated to investigators that while he was working in his yard, three black males approached him and ... (click for more)

Senator Bob Corker: An Open Letter To Tennesseans

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a state in which companies worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence. Many attribute it to our pro-business culture, well-prepared workforce, low tax environment, right-to-work policies, and engaged citizenry.  That is why the announcement by Volkswagen to build its midsize sports utility vehicle and establish the South’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Scottsboro’s Pat Trammell

I got a warm feeling Tuesday when it was announced Pat Trammell will be among those in the inaugural class of the Jackson County (Ala.) Sports Hall of Fame. When the august group is enshrined at Scottsboro’s Goose Pond Civic Center on Nov. 1, most folks won’t even know who Pat Trammell was but I knew all about him in my very first year as a fledgling sports writer back in 1967 and, ... (click for more)