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(West Plains) – The second confirmed case of rabies has been reported to the Howell County Health Department by the Missouri State Public Health Lab in Jefferson City.

The case involved a rabid skunk approximately 2 miles Southeast of Willow Springs. The skunk exposed 4 dogs that were all current on their rabies vaccinations. The dogs received a booster shot from a local veterinarian and will be monitored for 45 days.

“This is a very fortunate situation in which family pets were current on their rabies vaccinations. The animals had received the rabies vaccinations in 2012 during the annual countywide rabies clinic. Had the dogs not been up to date on the vaccinations, we would have had to euthanize them or quarantine them for 6 months at a vet facility at the owners cost due to rabies exposure. It is very important for people to protect themselves against rabies by not handling any pet that has been exposed to a wild animal until that animal can be tested to see if it is carrying the rabies virus.” said Justin Frazier, Environmental Public Health Supervisor with the Howell County Health Department.

In 2008, a Texas county man died from rabies after being bitten on the ear by a bat, marking the first human rabies death in Missouri since 1959. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 40,000 persons in the United States receive the anti-rabies series of shots annually.

Although rabies is transmitted to humans almost entirely through bites from rabid animals, contamination of open wounds or mucous membranes with saliva or nervous tissue from a rabid animal could potentially constitute an exposure. It is important to remember that personal pets should not be handled without protection directly after being exposed to wildlife due to the potential for carrying residual saliva from an infected animal.

To date in 2013, this is the second confirmed cases of rabies in Howell County, both skunks, as well as the twelfth rabies case statewide. Howell County ended 2012 with 6 rabid skunks reported to the Howell County Health Department. In 2011, Howell County had a total of 7 positive rabies cases, which all involved skunks. In 2010, Howell County had a record total of 16 positive rabies cases, all involving skunks.

Annually, 7,000 to 8,000 rabid animals are detected in the United States, with more than 90 percent of the cases in wild animals. Rabies is found naturally in Missouri, occurring primarily in bats and skunks, although other animals are also found to be rabid each year, including domestic species such as dogs, cats, horses, and cattle.


The Howell County Health Department will again be sponsoring a countywide rabies vaccination clinic on April 27, where county residents may receive reduced cost vaccinations for their pets.

“This year’s clinic will be different than previous years in the fact that in addition to the site at the Heart of the Ozarks Fairgrounds from 12:00-3:00, residents are also offered an opportunity to have pets vaccinated at the clinics of local participating veterinarians.” Frazier stated.

Times and locations are as follows:

West Plains

Kramer Animal Hospital 256-2014 8:00-5:00 at clinic. 109 St. Louis St.

West Plains Vet Clinic 256-4515 8:00-12:00 at clinic. 1716 W. Hwy 160

Talburt Animal Health Center 256-2838 8:00-1:00 at clinic. 3001 Porter Wagoner

Animal Clinic of West Plains 256-6145 8:00-11:00 at clinic. 1101 St. Rt. 17

12:00-3:00 at the Heart of the Ozarks Fairgrounds

Mountain View

Mountain View Farmers Market- Dr. Lewis 934-2323 1:00-3:00

Barn Hollow Veterinarian Services- Dr. Orchard 934-0234 1:00-3:00

Willow Springs

Willow Springs Booster Field- Dr. Lewis 469-4138 9:00-11:00

Animal Clinic of Willow Springs clinic- Dr. Gunter 469-3930 10:30-12:30

Additional information about rabies is available by calling the Environmental Public Health Section at the Howell County Health Department at 417-256-7078

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