More than a dozen people and pets possibly exposed to rabid dog

We now know more than a dozen pets and people were exposed to the rabid dog at Zilker Park.

On February 8th, the owner of this nine-month-old border collie mix took it to Zilker Park. The two played near the sand volleyball courts.

Austin Animal Services says at least a dozen other dogs and people potentially came in contact with it.

The collie was later euthanized and tested positive for rabies. It was not vaccinated.

"I think it's really irresponsible that's really my thing, you're really not thinking about anyone else but you, and you're not thinking about you, you could get it from the dog," said Zach Parisi, Zilker Park visitor

Animal services announced Friday that eight dogs are under observation. One of them is being kept at the shelter.

Six people are also being monitored. They are either being given a series of shots or are being assessed for the vaccinations.

"They get a shot of immune globulin and then a series of 4 vaccines, initial day, day 3, day 7 and day 14 and it's just like a shot in the arm like getting a flu shot," said Phil Wong, M.D.

While Dr. Phillip Huang says the treatment is very effective, he worries about three others who had contact with the animal--two women and an elementary-aged boy with blond hair and light skin.

Huang is most concerned about the boy because he played fetch with the dog for 15 minutes.

"That sort of exposure is concerning with the level of exposure that one might get to the saliva of this dog," said Wong.

Rabies is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal through a break in the skin or contact with mucus membranes of an uninfected animal or human.

Dog owner Zach Parisi can't help but worry.

"I come here all the time and to be honest with you I can't remember if I was here," said Parisi.

Officials urge anyone who may have been at Zilker Park on February 8th, to contact Austin-Travis County Health and Human Services. The incubation period is from 3 to 8 weeks. Then, symptoms develop.

"The bad thing if an individual develops symptoms then it is that's very likelihood of preceding death. It's very serious once an individual gets to that stage," said Huang.

Pet owners are required by law to get their animals a rabies vaccination. The owner of the collie mix can be charged with a class C misdemeanor, but Austin Animal Services does not plan to ticket her.


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