Rabies Rises in Brazos County

Rabies Virus
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You don't have to crunch the numbers too much to realize Brazos County is in a crunch when it comes to rabies. The fatal disease that sometimes makes its way out of the wild has animal control experts on high alert.

All of last year in Brazos County, there were 16 animal cases of rabies. So far this year, there have been 22.

"We're at a pretty high level of concern," said Ashley Wesp with the Brazos Animal Shelter. "We take everyone of these cases seriously because of the percentage of skunks that are coming back positive."

Wesp says the majority of cases so far have been skunks, with bats making up most of the rest. Only one domestic animal, a cat, has been reported as having rabies.

"We haven't seen that many cases of domesticated animals that are positive," Wesp said. "We'd like to keep it that way, so we're talking to everybody that we can and getting the information out as far as vaccinating against rabies."

It is mandatory that pets be vaccinated. For livestock, it's not, though the county is recommending it. Theories on the rise range from natural population trends to citizen awareness. And then there's development.

"Everytime a new subdivision goes up in the rural community, it's pushing wildlife out, so it's pushing wildlife into areas where there's people and dogs and cats," Wesp said.

But regardless of the why's, the how stays the same: if you see a rabid animal, stay away and call the authorities.