Arkansas sees a spike in the number of rabid animals

A skunk found in west Little Rock, off Highway 10/Cantrell Road has tested positive for rabies, according to the Arkansas Health Department.

This is the first rabid skunk found south of the Arkansas River in Pulaski County in more than 30 years. So far this year, six rabid skunks have been found in north Pulaski County, in or north of Maumelle. This is the first year for rabies in land animals in Pulaski County since 1980.

So far in 2013, the state has had a total of 134 rabid animals (104 skunks, 24 bats, 2 cats, 2 dogs, one cow, and one horse) test positive for rabies. ADH said most years, Arkansas averages 50 positive cases.

Any skunk seen out during the day or getting into a fenced in yard or pen is likely a rabid skunk according to Susan Weinstein, state public health veterinarian. If you suspect a skunk may be rabid, you're asked to report it.

ADH suggests Arkansans can protect themselves from rabies by:

  • Being sure dogs, cats and ferrets are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations
  • Not feeding, touching or adopting wild animals
  • Keeping family pets indoors at night
  • Bat-proofing your home in the fall or winter (The majority of human rabies cases are caused by bat bites.)
  • Encouraging children to immediately tell an adult if any animal bites them
  • Teaching children to avoid wildlife, strays and all other animals they do not know well

To report animal bites or contact with wild animals, call the nearest local health unit. For more information, call the Pulaski County Health Units at: Jacksonville, 501-982-7477; North Little Rock, 501-791-8551; Pulaski Central, 501-280-3100; SW Little Rock, 501-565-931, or Susan Weinstein, DVM, state public health veterinarian, at (501) 280-4136.