Rabies detected in downstate dog, the first in a decade

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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) are urging Michigan residents to have their pets and animals vaccinated against rabies after confirmation that a six-month-old dog in the City of Detroit (Wayne County) tested positive for rabies.

The infected dog had never been vaccinated against rabies. Prior to this instance, the last rabid dog in the state occurred in 2011 in Oakland County.

While any mammal can be infected with rabies, the virus is typically carried by skunks or bats in Michigan. Testing to determine the strain of rabies in the infected dog is still taking place.

“Rabies virus is present in the saliva and brain tissue of an infected animal,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for MDHHS. “People can be exposed to rabies when they are bitten by a rabid animal. Other possible routes for exposure include getting infectious material in your eyes, nose, or mouth or on fresh cuts in the skin. Make sure pets are vaccinated and avoid contact with stray or wild animals to reduce your risk of exposure to this potentially fatal disease.”

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