Two Carson City residents underwent rabies treatment after they were exposed to a puppy that tested positive for the disease, and authorities mounted an investigation involving five agencies, health officials reported Wednesday.
The case was confined to one household, but the inquiry is ongoing. The puppy was purchased from a litter in another household in the Gardnerville Ranchos, according to Taylor Radtke of Carson City Health and Human Services (HHS). In a release, HHS added it has been more than 20 years since a dog has been reported as having rabies in Nevada. Rabies can be deadly for humans.
Radtke, a public-information officer, said Douglas County Animal Services is taking the lead in the part of the probe that traces back to the supplier of the puppy, while Carson City HHS “is investigating the origin of this rabies exposure” and trying to determine whether other exposures may have occurred in the capital city.
“Right now, we are trying to contact other possible exposures,” said Radtke, taking note of the litter and sales aspects in the case. She said safety concerns for the community involve both humans and other animals.
She also said the pair who were exposed not only are undergoing treatment but will have to be checked at the hospital, though hospitalization confinement wasn’t expected.
The puppy involved was purchased in January via a Facebook contact, and various agencies are assisting in the probe.
Along with health authorities here and in Douglas County, officials at the Nevada Department of Agriculture, the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health Office of Epidemiology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention became involved.
The viral disease can affect the central nervous system — the brain and the spinal column.
The HHS release reminded people to take precautions regarding rabies:
Avoid contact with animals you don’t know.
Make sure your pets are immunized.
Confine pets, or keep them on a leash.
Avoid sick or injured animals and stay away from strays or wild animals.
The local health department said animal rabies symptoms exhibit as changes in behavior, biting, aggression, lack of fear over natural enemies, foaming at the mouth and paralysis.