Montgomery County Animal Control has received a second confirmed case of rabies from an indigenous wildlife animal in northwest Montgomery County since January. The first confirmed rabid animal was a skunk that tested positive on January 6, 2011 and the second confirmed case was a fox that tested positive on May 6, 2011. There have been 3 other confirmed cases of rabies in skunks in the adjacent counties. There was one skunk reportedly in Grimes County and two skunks in northern most portion of Harris County, near Hockley. The distance between the two confirmed cases in Montgomery County was 5.5 miles (see Map).
Montgomery County receives hundreds of animals for rabies quarantine or testing each year and the majority of animals that are submitted test negative. We have not had a confirmed case of rabies in a skunk since 1984. Prior to 2011, there has not been a fox or a raccoon that were submitted by Montgomery County that tested positive for rabies since 1960. This year, more cases of skunk rabies have been reported in counties surrounding Montgomery County than previous years. The south central skunk strain is the most common strain in Texas and this strain can spill over to other wildlife such as foxes and raccoons. In Texas, the south central skunk strain is also the most common form of rabies among dogs and cats. Most often, dogs and cats will develop rabies if they are bitten by rabid wildlife and if they are not currently vaccinated for rabies. Therefore the Department of State Health Services recommends that cats, dogs, and other valuable livestock be vaccinated to prevent rabies. Citizens are cautioned not to approach any wildlife animal, particularly ones that are found wondering in the daytime or appear to be sick. Reports of indigenous wildlife that encounter pets should also be reported to Animal Control Officials.