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Rabies Cases Spike In Southeast Missouri


Southeast Missouri has recently seen a rise in rabies, with 5 confirmed cases in the past 2 months. This is unusual because in the past 4 years, only 4 animals tested positive in the same months. The most recent case was a skunk found in Cape Girardeau County.

The threat of rabies within city limits is real, though small. Animals and humans are highly susceptible to this disease, and it isn’t always easy to tell if an animal has it.

Equine veterinarian Martha Hucks says that rabid animals are not always easy to spot, with most cases of rabies revealing themselves as unusual behaviour.

“Most commonly we see the dumb form of rabies, and that’s where an animal just acts not normal. So if anyone sees any abnormal behavior from a cute little wildlife animal they shouldn’t approach it, because they’re not right for a reason,” Hucks said.

Jane Wernsman, Director of the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center, suggests vaccinating domestic pets if you’re worried about rabies.

“Vaccinate your pets. It’s so easy,” Wernsman said. “Relatively inexpensive to vaccinate for rabies on the front end than have to watch your animal succumb to that or be confined.”

The most common rabies carrier in Missouri is the skunk, though any wildlife has the potential to contract and spread this disease.