Novelty, learning and vigilance

Published 11:48 am Wednesday, March 6, 2019

There are some viral diseases we don’t have to worry about much anymore, thankfully, due to vaccines. Some of these diseases used to be nothing less than predominant parts of life because their threat was so massive to humans. Now, they can seem like novelties; they’re so rare I know little about them. Nevertheless, it is important that we remain vigilant in order to keep them from staging a comeback.

One of those viral diseases is rabies. It has come up in the news lately because there have been multiple animals reported to be infected with rabies in Lunenburg County — four over the course of 20 days. Ed Dunn is the environmental health manager with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Piedmont Health District, and he said having the rate of animals infected this closely together is somewhat out of the ordinary.

That’s both alarming and fascinating, since I didn’t know that. I also was surprised to learn in one of our stories that it is every month or so when a skunk or racoon tests positive for rabies in the Piedmont Health District, an area which encompasses seven counties, including Lunenburg.

Naturally, I’ve also been curious to know what would happen if a human became infected with rabies. Pulling from our article in this edition, the VDH describes rabies as a fatal disease that attacks the nervous system and affects mammals. The VDH encouraged anyone who has been bitten by a rabid animal to not panic and to wash the wound with soap and water and seek medical treatment.

“It is critically important that you notify your family doctor and the Health Department immediately and explain how you got the bite; they will want to know if the animal has been captured,” the release cited. “If necessary, the Health Department will arrange for you to receive anti-rabies treatment. Your doctor will also treat you for other possible infections from the bite.”

The release from the VDH Piedmont Health District cited that the Lunenburg County Animal Control and Health Departments remind Lunenburg citizens to avoid wild animals and to keep their pets vaccinated against rabies.

It’s been fascinating to learn more about this viral disease, but boy am I grateful that it doesn’t play a big role in our lives anymore. To keep it that way, however, let’s make sure we follow the guidance offered by the experts.

Titus Mohler is the sports editor for The Kenbridge-Victoria Dispatch and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. His email address is Titus. Mohler@KVDispatch. com.