To the editor:
The Journal-World article of Sunday May, 5 entitled “Concert … baby wildlife” encourages the creation of serious public health problems. Rabies is a real and life-threatening problem. It is a natural disease of dogs, cats, bats and wild carnivores (raccoon, fox, and to a lesser extent opossum). All warm-blooded animals are susceptible.
Rabies is spread to humans by the saliva of infected mammals by bite wound or a wound created while examining the mouth. The saliva is infective several days before symptoms are shown by the animal. Incubation is 15 to 50 days (time from when rabies virus is injected into a mammal until the newly infected animal is contagious). Therefore, any rescue attempts of wild or feral animals is highly discouraged.
Regarding public health, bite wounds or wounds exposed to the saliva of a wild animal or unvaccinated domestic pet, the choices are to submit the brain for diagnostics, quarantine the animal, or rabies prevention treatment of the exposed person. If a dead bat is found in a room were people sleep, the above also applies. If bitten by a vaccinated animal, the vaccination history should be discussed with the owner and veterinarian. A rabies vaccination is only considered official if done by an accredited veterinarian with records of the vaccination. The vaccine is only considered effective for a species if stated on the label and the vaccination schedule followed.
Also, herons will strike and it is very possible to lose an eye or a piece of your nose or face.