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Another rabies case reported

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A second case of a rabies has been confirmed in Bandera County in less than a week this fall, making 10 cases of rabies confirmed in Bandera County so far in 2019, the county’s rabies control officer said on Monday, Nov. 4.

The most recent case was reported on Friday, Nov. 1, when the Bandera County Sheriff’s Department said it was informed that another raccoon had tested positive for the virus.

The incident took place in the 200 block of Rikki Drive, making the second case of rabies being found in a raccoon in four days. Officials had reported last week that a rabid raccoon had been taken down in the 100 block of Turkey Drive in the Pipe Creek area.

In neither of the cases did the animals have contact with humans, officials said.

Dr. Conrad Nightingale, a veterinarian who is the county’s rabies control officer, said the newest cases constituted the ninth and 10th cases of rabies in Bandera County this year.

He called that number “way above normal,” since no more than two or three cases typically arise in the county each year.

The cases were unusual because there had been a long gap between the last rabies case that authorities had confirmed in the county, which was on July 1, and the one late last month.

Nightingale said rabies cases normally arise more often in the summer months than in the fall and winter months. He said it concerned him that positive rabies cases were being reported so late in the year.

A variety of factors could explain the late outbreak of rabies. Abundant food supplies and mild weather conditions this fall could be putting less stress on wild animals, which could allow them to live with rabies longer than normal, Nightingale said.

He said an unusually large number of foxes have either been diagnosed with the disease this year or have been seen acting in unusual ways, which is an indicator that they could be infected. Two of the 10 confirmed cases in the county involved foxes.

He has contacted regional animal control officials to see if they could mount a bait drop program in Bandera County depositing doses of the rabies vaccine in bait for the animals to eat. The rabies officer said he had received no response on that request.

Residents were advised by the sheriff’s department to be “extremely cautious” around wild animals and to closely monitor their pets.

Anyone who sees a stray or wild animal acting strangely was urged to call the sheriff’s dispatchers at 830-796-3771 so the animals could be picked up. If the matter is an emergency, residents were advised to call 9-1-1.