The Siskiyou County Public Health and Community Development Department is advising residents of Siskiyou County that two bats have been confirmed positive for the rabies virus in late September and early October in northern Siskiyou County. In both cases, domestic pets have come in contact with the rabid bats.

If a pet comes in contact with a rabid animal, the pet must be revaccinated immediately and quarantined for 30 days if current on its rabies vaccination. If the pet is not current on its vaccination it must be vaccinated immediately and quarantined for six months.

In cases where humans come in contact with a rabid animal or a pet that has had contact with a rabid animal, the person should contact their physician immediately about undergoing rabies prophylaxis.

Rabies is endemic (always present) in the wildlife population and is typically found in bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes.

Rabies is most often transmitted through the bite or scratch of an infected animal or when saliva of the infected animal comes in contact with an open wound or mucous membrane (such as nose or mouth).

Simple contact with a wild animal will not result in rabies.

If you are bitten by an animal, first wash the wound with soap and water and immediately contact your private physician or go to the hospital emergency room to determine if you should have tetanus or begin rabies shots.

All animal bites must be reported to your local county health department.

The Public Health & Community Development Department wants to remind pet owners of the importance of having their animals up-to-date on rabies vaccinations. Rabies is a fatal disease. Vaccination of pets is the primary prevention measure that prevents the rabies virus from passing from wildlife to pets and humans.

State law requires vaccination of all dogs. While the law does not require vaccination of cats, vaccination is strongly recommended.  Low cost vaccination clinics are offered each year in Siskiyou County.

People can protect themselves from rabies by using the following measures:
• Avoid contact with wild or stray animals.
• Vaccinate family pets such as dogs and cats, and keep vaccinations current.
• Obtain medical care promptly if bitten by an animal.
• Report all animal bites to the local animal control office or public health department.
• Keep pet food indoors at night to prevent skunks, raccoons, opossums, foxes, etc. from becoming uninvited visitors on your porch.
• Report any animals that are observed acting strangely or out of character, (i.e. a skunk wandering around in the daylight is odd because they are typically out at night).

If you have any further questions regarding this matter call (530) 841-2100.