DNR update on how to handle a Rabies situation


MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) — We all know the smell. It’s unmistakable. Now with confirmed cases of rabid skunks near Detroit, I talked to Brian Roell today, a Wildlife Biologist with the DNR about risks of rabies in the Upper Peninsula.

Brian Roell, Wildlife Biologist, Michigan Department of Natural Resources said, “This time of year, bats are winding down, they’re starting to hibernate, so you probably won’t see bats anymore. It is possible for skunks and raccoons can still be carrying it. It is getting kind of late in the season.”

Roell tells me he’s not aware of any positive rabies cases in the Upper Peninsula I asked him what to do if someone thinks they are exposed.

“If there is a human exposure, they should not call the DNR, they should call the Marquette County Health Department and work through them, if you think there is a human exposure. That would include anything like if you have an infant in a room and you find a bat, you should still treat that as a possible exposure just because you don’t know,” said Roell.

Roell says that it’s been more than ten years since there have been any positive rabies cases in Marquette County, but to pay attention to wild animals and their behavior.

“If you see a sick animal, they should all be treated as a possible carrier, particularly if it’s a skunk or a raccoon or a bat. They can carry it and they can even look healthy, that’s why we recommend that you do not handle live animals and if you do handle a dead animal, handle it with a shovel or something like that if you are going to try to dispose of it,” said Roell.

While you have your phone in your hand, click here or here, for a couple of links to resources in the state when it comes to Rabies.

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