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IDOH reports skunk rabies in southern Indiana for first time since 2004

An image of a skunk sitting in a patch of grass.
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IDOH recommends vaccinating and supervising pets, leaving stray animals and wildlife alone, and contacting animal control to remove stray animals from neighborhoods.

The Indiana Department of Health is warning people to make sure their pets are up to date on their vaccinations and maintain a safe distance from wildlife following the detection of skunk rabies in southern Indiana.

IDOH said the cases were in Clark and Washington counties, but it is working to determine if other counties are affected.

Rabies is a viral infection primarily spread through the saliva of an infected animal. Untreated rabies in people is “almost always” fatal, but it can be prevented with prompt treatment after a bite.

The IDOH recommends vaccinating and supervising pets, leaving stray animals and wildlife alone, and contacting animal control to remove stray animals from neighborhoods.

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Hoosiers can report sick or dead skunks to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife Health Program at on.IN.gov/sickwildlife. IDOH said in its statement people should not approach or touch skunks or any other wild animals, even those that appear healthy.

No human infections are suspected. These are the first confirmed cases in Indiana since 2004.

Abigail is our health reporter. Contact them at aruhman@wboi.org.

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Abigail Ruhman covers statewide health issues. Previously, they were a reporter for KBIA, the public radio station in Columbia, Missouri. Ruhman graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.