Rabies outbreak ongoing in Western Alaska

    Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) - State officials are recommending residents of Western Alaska to take steps in protecting themselves and their pets from an ongoing rabies outbreak.

    The Alaska Departments of Environmental Conservation and Health and Social Services recommends these measures to Alaskans Tuesday.

    From Bristol Bay to the North Slope cases of rabies have been confirmed with the largest count in nome.

    The Bering Strait Regions usually sees up to five rabies cases in animals each year, but in October of last year, the state along with the centers for disease control confirmed 35 cases.

    For the first time in over 20 years in Alaska, one of these cases involved a river otter.

    A veterinary epidemiologist with the Department of Health and Social Services, Dr. Louisa Castrodale said in a release that the outbreak underscores the importance of avoiding contact with wild or stray animals that may carry rabies and also vaccinating pets against rabies, for their safety and to prevent transmission to other animals or humans.

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