Reporting Angela Davis
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 5-month-old baby is being treated after being bit by a rabid skunk.
Police say the infant was sitting in a child seat outside a home in Little Falls Tuesday with several other children. That’s when the skunk approached the kids and bit the baby several times in the face.
The homeowner shot and killed the skunk.
Dr. Joni Scheftel of the Department of Health said skunks and bats are the wild animals that tend to carry rabies in Minnesota.
Those animals, she said, typically bite dogs, cats, horses or cattle and infect them.
Skunks can bite humans as well, but it’s rare.
In Minnesota last year, 72 animals tested positive for rabies, Scheftel said.
Sixteen of those were skunks and about the same number were bats.
The treatment after you’re bitten by an animal that’s tested positive for rabies is a series of shots.
It’s usually four vaccinations over two weeks and they’ve proven to be effective.
The doctor described how you can tell if an animal, wild or domesticated, has rabies.
“They act like they are not thinking right… staggering, circling, or falling over as they try to walk. You may see a seizure,” Scheftel said. “In deer, I understand they drag their hind legs through the woods, just very abnormal.”
The doctors say that if you have pets to be sure to get them vaccinated against rabies.
Vaccinated pets prevent the spread of the disease between wild animals and people.
Also teach children not to approach an unfamiliar or wild animal and encourage them to tell an adult if they are bitten.
What should you do if someone is bitten by a wild animal and you’re worried it has rabies?
The department of health says you should immediately wash the bite with soap and water and then get to a doctor so that he or she can determine whether shots are needed.
Other infections like tetanus can come from a bite wound.
Also, if the wild animal can be caught, it’s typically euthanized and then tested for rabies.
For more, go to the Department of Health’s website.