Skunks blamed for increase in rabies in state

Wednesday, October 29th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Oklahoma City-AP) -- The number of rabies cases in Oklahoma is increasing and skunks are getting the blame.

The state Health Department says there have been 150 cases of rabies this year, nearly double the average of 81 cases a year from 2000 through 2002.

State veterinarian Doctor Kristy Bradley says skunks are the most common carrier of rabies. She says the number of rabies cases rises every eight to ten years as the skunk population increases.

Bradley says the disease usually declines as the skunks die of the infection.

The last human death due to rabies was in 1981 and Bradley says outdoor pets are at greatest risk of getting rabies. State law requires rabies shots for all dogs, cats and ferrets older than 4-months.