Public health officials want people attending Floyd’s annual music to be cognizant of rabid animals.
In a news release issued yesterday the Virginia Department of Health cautioned music fans heading to this weekend’s FloydFest to not only protect themselves against the hot summer sun, but also against the “spread of rabies.”
“Rabies is found across most of Virginia. There were 573 confirmed animal rabies cases in the state last year, and we are on a pace to exceed that total this year,” said Dr. Molly O’Dell, director of the New River Health District. “Eliminate sources of garbage, food and water, and avoid contact with wild or stray animals, especially those behaving suspiciously, tame and approachable or uncoordinated.”
She also urged people to vaccinate pets against the disease.
So far this year, there have been two rabies cases in Patrick County and five in Floyd County. Additionally, a Henry County fox was confirmed rabid, another fox in nearby Franklin County was suspected of having rabies and a cluster of rabies cases occurred slightly farther west in Giles County.
My colleague Jorge Valencia recently wrote about how the number of confirmed rabies cases in Virginia this year jumped 20 percent through July 2, compared with the same period in 2010, reversing a five-year decline in the fatal sickness.
I already wrote about the health department’s efforts to educate people about staying safe from heat stroke and other risks that come with the intense summer days.
But this week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent out another reminder to stay cool and safe when outside, noting on average, 675 people die from complications related to extreme heat each year in the United States. That’s more deaths than tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, lightning or any other weather event cause combined.
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