Department of Health confirms first rabies case in Oklahoma County

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EDMOND, Okla. -- Edmond's first confirmed rabies case in years sends a message to dog owners around the state.

It started as a fight between a dog and a skunk early this week, and luckily the dog was vaccinated.

"There's all kinds of animals cause there's a wooded area," said one person in the neighborhood. "But a rabid skunk is kind of scary."

Neighbors are on edge after a rabid skunk wanders out of the nearby woods into the backyard of a home off of I-35 in Edmond.

"We saw a skunk running under the fence at the house on the corner, and we were just thinking gosh...we're glad it wasn't at our house," said Jim Tidmore, who lives nearby.

The scavenger reportedly got in a tussle with a neighborhood dog, and was rushed away by Animal Welfare.

"This was our first positive rabid skunk, positive rabid animal in Oklahoma County in 2015," said Becky Coffman, with the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

First case in the county, but not the first in the state. To date, according to the department of health, there have been seven total cases, in seven different counties across Oklahoma.

Oddly enough, the case confirmed this week in OK County was right down the street from current Oklahoma State Epidemiologist, Dr. Kristy Bradley.

"The fact that it was in my neighborhood was a little surprising," Dr. Bradley said .

According to the Department of Health's website, in 2014 there were 104 confirmed cases of rabies in Oklahoma. Of those cases, 69 were skunks, but the rest of the species were varied.

"Any mammal can get rabies," said Coffman. "We were very fortunate in the situation in Oklahoma county that the owner did have their dog currently vaccinated."

"The best protection is to have your pet currently vaccinated," said Dr. Bradley.

Officials say animals, specifically dogs, cats, and ferrets, should be vaccinated either every one or every three years, depending on the type of vaccination given.

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