Q and A Regarding Rabies

Following are some questions and answers about Rabies, found on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies/ques&ans/q&a.htm.

Pets

1. Q: How can I protect my pet from rabies?

A: There are several things you can do to protect your pet from rabies. First, visit your veterinarian with your pet on a regular basis and keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all cats, ferrets, and dogs. Second, maintain control of your pets by keeping cats and ferrets indoors and keeping dogs under direct supervision. Third, spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or vaccinated regularly. Lastly, call animal control to remove all stray animals from your neighborhood since these animals may be unvaccinated or ill.

2. Q: What happens if my pet (cat, dog, ferret) is bitten by a wild animal?

A: Any animal bitten or scratched by either a wild, carnivorous mammal or a bat that is not available for testing should be regarded as having been exposed to rabies. Unvaccinated dogs, cats, and ferrets exposed to a rabid animal should be euthanized immediately. If the owner is unwilling to have this done, the animal should be placed in strict isolation for 6 months and vaccinated 1 month before being released. Animals with expired vaccinations need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Dogs and cats that are currently vaccinated are kept under observation for 45 days.

Human Rabies

1. Q: How do people get rabies?

A: People usually get get rabies from the bite of a rabid animal. It is also possible, but quite rare, that people may get rabies if infectious material from a rabid animal, such as saliva, gets directly into their eyes, nose, mouth, or a wound.


2. Q: Can I get rabies in any way other than an animal bite?

A: Non-bite exposures to rabies are very rare. Scratches, abrasions, open wounds, or mucous membranes contaminated with saliva or other potentially infectious material (such as brain tissue) from a rabid animal constitute non-bite exposures. Occasionally reports of non-bite exposure are such that postexposure prophylaxis is given.
Inhalation of aerosolized rabies virus is also a potential non-bite route of exposure, but other than laboratory workers, most people are unlikely to encounter an aerosol of rabies virus.
Other contact, such as petting a rabid animal or contact with the blood, urine or feces (e.g., guano) of a rabid animal, does not constitute an exposure and is not an indication for prophylaxis.

3. Q: What medical attention do I need if I am exposed to rabies?
A: One of the most effective methods to decrease the chances for infection involves thorough washing of the wound with soap and water. Specific medical attention for someone exposed to rabies is called postexposure prophylaxis or PEP. In the United States, postexposure prophylaxis consists of a regimen of one dose of immune globulin and five doses of rabies vaccine over a 28-day period. Rabies immune globulin and the first dose of rabies vaccine should be given by your health care provider as soon as possible after exposure. Additional doses or rabies vaccine should be given on days 3, 7, 14, and 28 after the first vaccination. Current vaccines are relatively painless and are given in your arm, like a flu or tetanus vaccine.

Wild Animals

1. Q: What animals get rabies?

A: Any mammal can get rabies. The most common wild reservoirs of rabies are raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes, and coyotes. Domestic mammals can also get rabies. Cats, cattle, and dogs are the most frequently reported rabid domestic animals in the United States.

2. Q: What is the risk of rabies from squirrels, mice, rats, and other rodents?

A: Small rodents (such as squirrels, rats, mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, and chipmunks, ) and lagomorphs (such as rabbits and hares) are almost never found to be infected with rabies and have not been known to cause rabies among humans in the United States. Bites by these animals are usually not considered a risk of rabies unless the animal was sick or behaving in any unusual manner and rabies is widespread in your area. However, from 1985 through 1994, woodchucks accounted for 86% of the 368 cases of rabies among rodents reported to CDC. Woodchucks or groundhogs (Marmota monax) are the only rodents that may be frequently submitted to state health department because of a suspicion of rabies. In all cases involving rodents, the state or local health department should be consulted before a decision is made to initiate postexposure prophylaxis (PEP).

Bats and Rabies

1. Q: Do bats get rabies?

A: Yes. Bats are mammals and are susceptible to rabies, but most do not have the disease. You cannot tell if a bat has rabies just by looking at it; rabies can be confirmed only by having the animal tested in a laboratory. To minimize the risk for rabies, it is best never to handle any bat.

2. Q: What should I do if I come in contact with a bat?

A: If you are bitten by a bat -- or if infectious material (such as saliva) from a bat gets into your eyes, nose, mouth, or a wound -- wash the affected area thoroughly and get medical attention immediately. Whenever possible, the bat should be captured and sent to a laboratory for rabies testing.

People usually know when they have been bitten by a bat. However, because bats have small teeth which may leave marks that are not easily seen, there are situations in which you should seek medical advice even in the absence of an obvious bite wound. For example, if you awaken and find a bat in your room, see a bat in the room of an unattended child, or see a bat near a mentally impaired or intoxicated person, seek medical advice and have the bat tested.
People cannot get rabies just from seeing a bat in an attic, in a cave, or at a distance. In addition, people cannot get rabies from having contact with bat guano (feces), blood, or urine, or from touching a bat on its fur (even though bats should never be handled!).

3. Q: What should I do if I find a bat in my home?

A: If you see a bat in your home and you are sure no human or pet exposure has occurred, confine the bat to a room by closing all doors and windows leading out of the room except those to the outside. The bat will probably leave soon. If not, it can be caught, as described below, and released outdoors away from people and pets.

However, if there is any question of exposure, leave the bat alone and call animal control or a wildlife conservation agency for assistance. If professional assistance is unavailable, use precautions to capture the bat safely, as described below.

What you will need:

leather work gloves (put them on)
small box or coffee can
piece of cardboard
tape

When the bat lands, approach it slowly and place a box or coffee can over it. Slide the cardboard under the container to trap the bat inside. Tape the cardboard to the container securely. Contact your health department or animal control authority to make arrangements for rabies testing.

The complete text may be found at the CDC website.


Emergency Preparedness

The Massillon City Health Department, in support of Homeland Security, would like to encourage citizens to be prepared in case of a terrorist attack or natural disaster. We advise keeping a 3 day supply of food and water for each family member, as well as emergency supplies.

Water - one gallon per person, per day. More for children or sick people.
Food - non-perishable foods that require no refrigeration, cooking, or water. Don't forget baby food, pet food, canned milk and juices.

Supplies include: flashlight, battery-powered radio, extra batteries, garbage bags, first aid kit, moist towelettes, extra clothing, sleeping bags, paper/plastic plates & utensils, cash, can opener, utility knife, paper towels, fire extinguisher, matches aluminum foil, shut-off wrench for gas & water lines, toilet paper, feminine supplies, bleach, disinfectant, extra eyeglasses, passports, birth certificates, prescription medications.

It is a good idea to have a communication plan for your family, and keep important numbers by your phone. Keep gas tanks full on all vehicles.

You can find more information on how to be prepared at www.ready.gov/water_food.html.

by Terri Argent
Registered Sanitarian


Disaster Preparedness

Disasters can happen anytime. Summertime storms can whip into tornadoes, with the right weather conditions. Flooding can ruin homes and other property. Winter can create other disaster situations. Do you know what to do to prepare for an emergency?

http://clorox.com/health/disaster/

Find more interesting ideas at www.clorox.com


Old Tires

They're dirty, they take up space, they're unsightly, and they collect water and help breed mosquitoes. This last fact is the main reason why health departments suggest you get rid of them from your property. If you have old tires around your house or garage, the best thing to do is recycle them! The closest place to Massillon to take tires for recycling is Perry Township Recycling Station, located at 5075 Southway St. SW, at Perry Drive and Southway. They will take 4 tires at a time, up to 12 per year per person, and there is no charge.

Other locations to drop off unwanted tires, for a small fee, are:

Mr. Tire: 2 locations, at 1405 Amherst Rd., and 620 W. Tuscarawas St. .

C-N-C Wholesale, 1300 Erie St. South
EPA licensed and bonded.

C & E Coal/Tire Monofill, Minerva - 1-330-868-0097

These places will shred and bury the tires or send them for recycling. Some general prices are: passenger tires, $2 - $3 ea.; truck tires, $5 - $6 ea.; semi-truck tires $5 - $15 ea. Call for details.

So, please, help us keep Massillon and Stark County clean!


Methods of freeing house of bats without killing them
By GENE GARY
Copley News Service
The Repository
March 17, 2001

Q. We have a large frame house in which the walls and attic have become with bats. We are concerned about disease and rabies from these creatures. Is there any way to drive these pests away without using poisons?
A. There are a couple of methods to free your house of these inhabitants without
killing them. Overall, bats are good for the environment because of the insects (including mosquitoes) they feed on. They often establish colonies in the attics, attic where they leave droppings and make noise. Only one-half of 1 percent carry rabies.

Often your can flush them from their hangout in your attic by leaving a small light burning in the area for a week. Fans also will help drive them away.

Once they have evacuated the area, seal up the openings they are using as an entry. Since they are nocturnal, you can usually observe their points of entry to your home by maintaining a watch at dusk to see where they enter and exit your home (usually at the roof or attic locations).

One effective method of deterring these creatures is to seal off all openings except
one. Then place a long piece of nylon netting or nursery bird wire over the last opening.

Cut the netting- wide enough to span the bats' entryway and long enough to hang
three feet below it. Secure the top and sides of the netting to the house with staples and tape but leave the bottom open. Taper the netting so the bottom opening is less than 15 inches wide.

This allows remaining bats to drop out but not get back in, since they fly straight
into an opening, not up and in.

If your bats are not the migrating variety and have set up residency year-round, you will want trapping any flightless bat pups inside the attic or walls.

Bat pups are born in late spring and early summer so the best times to evict would be early spring or in the fall. The pups need only about three weeks to fly and feed on their own. Don't try to evict hibernating bats, they will be severely stressed by being disturbed in the winter when food is scarce.

In nonhibernation months, bats need to feed at least every third day, so it should only take about a week to be sure that they have all left. Once they're out, seal or screen all openings to prevent any new res idents from entering.


Mold

On Wednesday, September 5, 2001, CBS's 48 Hours aired a segment titled Silent Killers. We have attached a summary of this report taken from the CBS.com web site. You can also view a segment of the video -report at their web site.

The Ohio Department of Health has been overwhelmed with calls this morning from people about mold, we thought you might be receiving them as well. Here's some information you might find helpful in answering public inquiries.


How do I know if there is stachybotrys mold in my house?

The fungus or mold grows only on wood or paper (It does NOT grow on plastic, vinyl, concrete, or ceramic tiles). If the wood/paper gets wet and is not cleaned and dried, the'fungus may grow and spread. The fungus is black and slimy. It is NOT found in the green mold which can grow on bread or the black mold found on shower tiles (however, the. tiles should be kept clean also). If you have had any roof or plumbing leaks, flooding in the basement (even if the basement is not used), or sewer back-up in the past year, check for a musty odor or look for the fungus in the common areas listed below.


What is pulmonary hemosiderosis?

Pulmonary hemosiderosis is a disease which causes bleeding in the lungs. The symptoms are coughing up blood or nose bleeds, generally in babies under 6 months of age. The toxins made by stachybotrys can be inhaled by babies and weaken blood vessels in their lungs which can cause bleeding. Exposure to mold, however, is not the only risk factor associated with the disease and a causal link between exposure to mold and pulmonary hemosiderosis has not been established. If there is a suspicion that an infant may be experiencing any type of respiratory problems, or if there is any bleeding from the mouth or nose, the infant should be seen by a physician immediately.


Other more common health effects associated with mold

Some more common health effects associated with exposure to mold, for all ages, include exacexbation of asthma and allergies, rhinitis, eye irritation, cough, and chest tightness. There is some evidence to suggest that chronic exposure to mold may predispose an individual toward developing sensitivities (allergies/asthma) to mold.

Common areas to check

Water soaked wood., ceiling tiles, wall paneling, cardboaxd, unpainted plasterboard surfaces and stacks of newspapers. If these areas have been very wet, usually for longer than 48 hours, check them out. After the area dries, the fungus will not continue to grow, but the black dust caused by the fungus (mold spores) could still get into the air of your home. Check your basement, particularly if you or your family spend time there. Check to see if your furnace pulls air from the basement as opposed to return air ducts. If you do not have access to the basement, ask your landlord for assistance.

In most cases,testing is not recommended. People should not live in moldy houses (whether it's stachybotrys, or not), so eliminating the water source and cleaning the moldy area is usually the best approach.

Testing for mold is expensive and very difficult to do. Results are difficult to interpret and are not very useful, as there is no clear action associated with a particular test result. Money is best spent fixing the problem rather than further defining what it is.

How to clean up fungus growth

Many homes may experience minimal mold.growth. As previously mentioned, in order to rid the home of mold it is necessary to control the source of water maintaining mold growth. This should be done before clean up. If there are patches of mold greater than two square feet, then mold should be professionally mitigated by specialists trained in methods similar to asbestos removal. A consumer hiring such professionals should ask for references from other mold mitigation jobs the professional has completed. Occupants should not be present during mitigation.

For smaller area of mold growth (patches less than 2 feet square), resident should follow guidelines listed below. Always remember that anyone with a sensitivity to mold, with asthma or allergies, or with other pre-existing respiratory illnesses should not be involved in clean up of mold and should not be present in the home when mold is being cleaned up.

*All roof or plumbing leaks/flooding must be fixed right away.

*All mold surfaces should be cleaned with a household bleach (like Clorox) and water - mix 1 cup bleach with 1 gallon of water. Dish soap can be added to the bleach water to cut dirt and oil that can hold mold.

Apply the bleach mixture on the surface with a sponge, let stand for 15 minutes, clean and then thoroughly dry the area. Be sure to wear a tight fitting dust mask and gloves, also open lots of windows when cleaning with bleach water. Never mix bleach and ammonia together.

*If the area can not be cleaned (porous or fabric surface) or if the area is too damaged, remove the damaged material and throw them out replace with new.

*Throw out any wet newspaper or cardboard.

*Dehumidifiers can be used in spot problem areas to control humidify. However, proper maintenance (per manufacturer's instructions) of dehumidifiers must be maintained or they may become a source of pollutants.

Please contact us at 1-614-644-7630 if you require additional information.


Radon Information

Call Ohio Department of Health - Radon Gas Information ** 1-800-523-4439
for any questions regarding radon gas. A State of Ohio radon law requires only licensed radon specialists may give advice, so that you get the right advice! They can give you information on testing and on local contractors for radon gas reduction.

You can't see radon, but it's not hard to find out if you have a radon problem in your home. Testing is easy and should only take a few minutes of your time. There are two general ways to test for radon, short term or long term. You can do a short term test first. These remain in your home for two days to 90 days, depending on the device. Because radon levels vary from day to day and season to season, a second short term test may be used.

EPA Recommends the Following Testing Steps:

Step 1. Take a short-term test. If your result is 4 pCi/L or higher, take a follow-up test (step 2) to be sure.

Step 2. Follow up with either a long-term test or a second short-term test:

  • For a better understanding of your year-round average radon level, take a long-term test

  • If you need results quickly, take a second short-term test

    The higher your initial short-term test result, the more certain you can be that you should take a short-term rather than a long-term follow up test. If your first short-term test result is several times the action level - for example, about 10 pCi/L or higher - you should take a second short-term test immediately.

Step 3. If you followed up with a long-term test: Fix your home if the result is 4 pCi/L or more*.

If you followed up with a second short-term test: The higher your short-term test results, the more certain yo can be that you should fix your home. Consider fixing your home if the average of your first and second test is 4 pCi/L or higher*.
*0.02 Working Levels (WL) or higher.

Following are two websites for some general radon information:

ohio.radon.com
www.radon.utoledo.edu
And again, the Ohio Department of Health toll-free number, 1-800-523-4439.

FAST FACTS FROM The Clorox Company
Clorox Tips to Interrupt the Chain of Infection


Wash Hands Frequently and Properly

Always wash hands before eating or cooking and after changing diapers, wiping runny noses, handling raw meats and fish, touching pets, smoking and using the bathroom. Use proper handwashing techniques:

  • Wet hands
  • Lather with soap, rubbing front and back of hands and wrists for at least 20 seconds.
  • Rinse under running water from wrists to fingertips.
  • Dry hands with paper towel.
  • Use paper towel to turn off faucet. (Remember: dirty hands turned the faucet on!)


Disinfect Surfaces Regularly

Disinfecting surfaces helps reduce germ transmission from surfaces to hands to mouths. Clorox@ household liquid bleach in an inexpensive, broad-spectrum disinfectant.

First, remove loose dirt.
Mix 3/4 cup bleach with 1 gallon water. (For smaller quantities, use 3 tablespoons bleach with 1 quart water.)
Apply to surface.
Keep surface wet for 2 minutes.
Rinse with water and let dry.


Disinfect Soiled Laundry with Bleach

Extra large capacity automatic washer:  11/2 cups bleach per washload
Standard (large capacity) automatic washer:  1 cup bleach per washload


Medical studies confirm that laundry washed in bleach is not irritating to babies' skin. In fact, bleach helps remove residues and yeasts that can contribute to skin irritations such as diaper rash.


Information provided by The Clorox Company.
For further information, please contact Sandy Sullivan at (510) 271-7732.

 

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