Rabies is a very real danger. The reason: Missouri has had more rabid animals and there is shortage of human vaccines. The shortage of the human rabies vaccines could last up to a year.
"So far no one in the United States who has needed the anti-rabies series of shots has not, not been able to get them, but the supply is becoming very limited and we need to make sure the remaining supply is used very judiciously so that in fact anytime someone does need it the it will be available for them," said State Public Health Veterinarian Howard Pue.
Normally two companies produce both the pre- and post-rabies exposure vaccines.
"Only one company currently producing vaccine we’re hoping that both companies will come back on full line as soon as possible but this could go on for a little while," Pue said.
Wild animals are the typical carriers of rabies and in Missouri that usually means skunks and bats, but Pue said he’s heard of cases in coyotes, foxes, horses, cows and even a goat.
"We do find rabies in domestic animals as well," he said. "So that’s why another thing that we can do is vaccinate our dogs and cats against rabies because when we get them vaccinated it helps to protect us against rabies that may be in the wild life. Dogs and cats go out there and mix and mingle and making sure that they’re vaccinated keeps the pets from bringing rabies into our home."
When left untreated, Pue said rabies is always fatal in animals and in humans.
About the only way it can be transmitted from an animal to a human is if that animal bites a person, he said.