Rabies on the rise in Arkansas, most are in Pulaski County

LITTLE ROCK (KATV)--Rabies is on the rise in Arkansas with Pulaski County leading the way in case numbers. Around 50 cases have been reported so far this year, and that's the same amount we had the entire year of 2013.

Just Thursday, the Arkansas Department of Health saw four new cases of rabies, bringing the total to 57.

What's interesting about these cases is that ADH is finding more rabid animals on the ground versus the sky.

"Last year was the first year we saw rabies on the ground in Pulaski County, now each year we usually have a few rabid bats in the county, but we have not for the last probably 30 years had any rabid skunks," said Dr. Susan Weinstein, State Public Health Veterinarian.

57 cases state-wide have been reported so far this year, out of those; 48 are skunks, six are bats, the rest are one dog, one cat, and cattle.

"People need to know that if they see skunks out during the day, certainly raises a red flag that there's something wrong with that skunk and they need to stay away, and certainly keep their pets away," added Weinstein.

If your pet may have had contact with a rabid animal, Arkansas state law states that owners must get their pets' a booster shot and quarantine them for 45 days if the dog or cat has up to date vaccinations. If your pet is not current on rabies shots a 6-month quarantine will be required.

"In our state we allow home quarantines for when they are exposed to positive rabies in the wild, I have to say most people do choose to quarantine," said Weinstein.

If you get bitten by a rabid animal you must seek medical help immediately. Just last year someone in Arkansas was bit. Ten years ago, a man was bit, but did die because he didn't seek any treatment.