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Cases Of Rabies Confirmed In Superstition Mountain Area

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Cases of rabies were confirmed in animals near a popular hiking site. George Flemming depicts a dog with late stage rabies experiencing hydrophobia in 1872.  
( George Flemming | Chapman and Hall | Wikimedia Commons )

Authorities in Arizona confirmed cases of rabies in the Superstition Mountain area. In The United States, cases of rabies have dramatically changed.

Confirmed Rabies Cases In Arizona

Authorities recently confirmed two cases of rabid animals in the Superstition Mountain area which includes popular hiking and camping areas such as Lost Dutchman State Park, Tonto National Forest, and First Water Trail. According to authorities, hikers have been reporting an increase in rabid wild animals in the area of late wherein two of the reported cases have been confirmed. Further, park officials have been seeing dead animals and aggressive animals along the trails.

In Arizona, bats are the most common hosts of rabies, but skunks, foxes, and bobcats are also carriers. This year alone, there are 134 laboratory-confirmed rabies cases in the state of Arizona including 18 skunks and 61 bats. Approximately 30 people are exposed to rabies from rabid animals each year in the state, which often happens when people touch or handle sick or dead bats that fall from the sky.

Rabies In The United States

Before 1960, most of the cases of rabies were domestic animal cases, but today over 90 percent of animal cases are of wild animals. The number of rabies-related human deaths in the country has drastically dropped from over a hundred to just one or two a year since the 1990’s. This reduction in number is primarily due to the success of modern-day prophylaxis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the only well-documented case of human to human rabies transmission is that of eight cornea transplant recipients and three solid organ transplant recipients. Although bite and non-bite human to human rabies transmissions are theoretically possible, no cases have been documented.

Rabies

Rabies is a viral disease among mammals that is transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. The virus infects the central nervous system and often leads to death. In its early stages, the symptoms are more similar to those of other diseases such as fever, discomfort, and headache, but more specific symptoms develop as it progresses. These include more severe symptoms such as anxiety, partial paralysis, excitation, hallucination, insomnia, hypersalivation, and hydrophobia. Unfortunately, death often occurs within days after these symptoms begin to show.

Wounds from suspected rabid animal bites must be thoroughly washed with soap and water immediately. A post-exposure prophylaxis over a 14-day period is often the course of action after rabid animal exposure, but it also depends on the type of exposure.

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