This manual is prompted by the spread of terrestrial rabies up the Eastern Seaboard and through the Mid-Atlantic region. In Indiana, we have not seen the influx of positive rabies cases that these eastern states have, but we know that the primary vector has been raccoons. It is anticipated as the virus moves its way west, our own population of both wild and domestic animals will be affected. In addition to this concern, we presently find several bats to be rabies-positive and bats serve as the number one source of rabies infection for humans.
In the absence of terrestrial rabies, but with it as close as the Ohio-Pennsylvania boarder, we publish these guidelines to help veterinarians, animal control personnel, physicians and animal handlers to identify situations and actions necessary to be taken in order to control and contain the spread of this disease among our animal population. This in turn protects our human population from exposure and infection, minimizing the amount of treatment necessary following exposure to potentially rabid animals.
We would like to thank the states of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut for allowing us to use information from their rabies manuals which were written to deal with the epizootic in the Mid-Atlantic states. With good information and education provided to all enforcing agencies, veterinarians and the general public, we can hopefully minimize human exposure and protect our domestic animals from this deadly disease.
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