RABIES IN THE AREA – September, 2020

The October issue of THE WALPOLE CLARION went to the printer this morning, 23 September, but our health officer just provided this important note to share. RAY BOAS, Publisher

RABIES IN THE AREA – September, 2020

Within the last three weeks there have been two confirmed cases of rabies, one in Alstead and one in Walpole. In Alstead a rabid bat was in the house. The animal died and was delivered to the New Hampshire Department of Public Health in Concord where rabies was confirmed. The two dogs in the house were current on their rabies vaccination but received booster shots just to be safe. This episode reinforces the need to keep indoor pets, usually cats, current on their rabies vaccine even though they never go outside.

The second episode occurred in the Walpole cemetery. A man was walking his dog off leash when the dog dashed in to the woods on the north side of the cemetery. It emerged with a coyote chasing it. There was an altercation and the owner killed the coyote. The head of the coyote was taken to the lab in Concord. It was positive for rabies. The dog was also current on its rabies vaccination and it too received a booster.

We live in a rabies endemic area. Keep your animals vaccinated! We won’t hear much about rabid animals because we do live in an endemic area and Fish and Game expects us to know that and be prepared.

Charles P. Shaw, DVM, Health Officer, Town of Walpole


Rabies virus particles, computer illustration. This bullet-shaped particle consists of an RNA (ribonucleic acid) genome enclosed in protein capsid, which is itself surrounded by a lipoprotein envelope containing glycoprotein spikes. Rabies virus primarily infects animals but can be transmitted to humans through a break in the skin. It spreads slowly through the peripheral nervous system to the brain, where it causes inflammation resulting in fever and delirium. Infection in humans can be fatal, though modern vaccines are effective if taken within the incubation period of the virus.

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