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For Release:  November 15, 2009
Contact:  Larry Weatherford
Office of Communications
(o) 405/271-5601 (c) 405/323-5480

State Health Officials Seeking Individuals Who May Have Been Exposed to a Rabid Dog in the Pauls Valley Area

Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) officials announced today that anyone who had direct contact with an adult, female Chihuahua with black fur and a white muzzle in the Pauls Valley, Oklahoma area during the dates of October 31 through November 3, may have been exposed to rabies virus. 

The Chihuahua was found at the front gate of the Pauls Valley Animal Shelter located at 300 East Airport Industrial Road at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, November 3.  The Chihuahua had no other distinctive markings with the exception of the white fur on the muzzle.  Animal Control officials are not sure if the Chihuahua was left at the front gate by an individual who previously owned the animal or if the dog was a stray and was left by an individual who found it in the Pauls Valley area.

Public health officials are asking anyone who may have come in direct contact with this Chihuahua to contact the OSDH Epidemiologist-on-Call at (405) 271-4060 or (800) 234-5963 to determine if they need to receive treatment to prevent rabies.  Persons who were bitten by the dog or had saliva get into a cut or fresh wound on the skin or mucous membranes (eyes, lining of the nose, or mouth) may have been exposed to rabies virus.

Rabies is a viral disease that can be transmitted to animals and humans mainly by a bite, but exposure may also occur through inoculation of saliva or nervous tissue into an opening in the skin or mucous membrane.  Some animals are more likely to be infected with rabies than others.  Skunks, bats, raccoons, foxes, and coyotes, have strains of rabies virus adapted to their species.  The rabies viruses in Oklahoma include the ones adapted to skunk and bats.  All warm-blooded mammals including dogs, cats, horses, and cattle can become infected with rabies virus.  Thus far in Oklahoma in 2009, there have been a total of 46 cases of animal rabies.

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