Kingfisher, Okla. – The Kingfisher County Health Department is raising rabies awareness after a confirmed case of rabies in a skunk was reported in Kingfisher County earlier this month. This is the first rabies-positive case found in the area. Rabies is an acute viral infection that is transmitted to humans or mammals usually through the saliva from a bite of an infected animal. Rabies can also be contracted when saliva from a rabid animal comes in contact with breaks in the skin or if a person came in contact with brain tissue. Skunks and bats are the primary carriers of rabies in Oklahoma. Rabies-infected animals can appear very aggressive or may act very tame. They may also exhibit the classic sign of foaming at the mouth or drooling, but not always. Any wildlife that is acting abnormally should be reported and avoided. Animals can also transmit rabies days before showing symptoms. It is critical that persons exposed to rabies seek immediate medical attention and be treated with a series of shots called rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Rabies vaccines are available for dogs, cats, ferrets, sheep, cattle, and horses. Oklahoma requires a veterinarian to vaccinate dogs, cats, and ferrets against rabies by the time the animal is 4 months of age, and at regular intervals thereafter. Acute Disease Services at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) employs a team of epidemiologists who are on-call 24/7 to answer questions regarding rabies exposure risks for humans or animals or to find out if an animal should be tested for rabies at (405) 426-8710. For additional information about how to submit animal samples for rabies testing, call the OSDH/OADDL Rabies Lab at (405) 744-6623. The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) protects and improves public health through its system of local health services and strategies focused on preventing disease. OSDH provides technical support and guidance to 68 county health departments in Oklahoma, as well as guidance and consultation to the two independent city-county health departments in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Learn more at Oklahoma.gov/health.