Health Officials Investigating Rabies Case in Carson City - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Health Officials Investigating Rabies Case in Carson City

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A number of people are getting treatment after being exposed to rabies from a dog in Carson City.

The Carson City Health and Human Services (CCHHS) told Channel 2 News it's the first reported case of a dog with rabies in 20 years.

The infected boxer-mix puppy came from a litter of 9 others. It was bought from a private owner in the Gardnerville area through Facebook back in December.

"So far, we have one puppy that was positive," said Dr. Anette Rink with the Nevada Department of Agriculture. "We refer to that as the index case."

Health officials say after the dog bit one of its new owners, tests were done by the Department of Agriculture, which normally does the lab work on all rabies-related cases. Dr. Rink says it came back positive last week.

"We forwarded that to the Centers For Disease Control in Atlanta for confirmation and for sequencing to determine what kind of rabies this was," she said.

Dr. Rink said this strain of rabies is usually found in big brown bats. The disease affects the nervous system and can be fatal in humans and animals. The CCHHS says you can get rabies from more than a bite from an infected animal.

"Most people think that because you've been bit by a dog, that's the only way you can get it," said Nicki Aaker, Carson City Health and Human Services Director. "It's actually transmitted through the saliva. So, even if you've been licked by an animal that has rabies, if it contacts a break in the skin, then you have been exposed and could get rabies."

Dr. Rink says all cats and dogs should be vaccinated as soon as they're 12 weeks old.

"And, throughout their lifetime, should be kept current on their rabies vaccinations," she said.

The CCHHS says it's working with different agencies like Douglas County Animal Services to determine where the rabies originally came from.

Meanwhile, another puppy from that same litter in Douglas County was adopted, and now the CCHHS says it's trying to find those new owner(s).

"It's very important that we find out who has acquired this puppy," Aaker said. "So, we can assess the risk that the individuals have been exposed to, and to recommend that they go see their health care provider."

If you have any information about the other puppy that's unaccounted for, call the Carson City Health and Human Services at (775) 887-2190.

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