AUSTIN (KXAN) - Rabies cases have spiked in Travis County over the past threeyears, officials claim. The biggest culprits are some of Austin'ssmallest and most famous inhabitants: Bats.
Over the pastthree years, the number of animals that tested positive forrabies has more than doubled in Travis County. The Texas Departmentof State Health Services released the 2008 statistics, and brokethe cases down by species and county.
The biggest problem was with bats, which accounted for 271 casesin a 30-county region in Central Texas. Skunks came in second with111 cases.
Health officials could not be reached to comment about possiblecauses for the increase, but similar trends in other areas havebeen blamed in part on urban sprawl, with more and more peoplemoving into the wild animals' territories.
Travis County had a total of 197 animals that tested positive,all but three were bats. The disease was discovered in threeskunks. Williamson County came in second with 53 rabies cases where46 were bats and seven were skunks. Burnet County came in with thefourth highest numbers, behind Brazos County. Acounty by county breakdown map from 2006 to 2008 was recentlyreleased.
The trend of rabies cases in Texas is on the rise. Travis Countyis almost off the chart compared to 30 other Central Texas counties(seehere). Williamson County cases dipped in 2007, but spiked in2008.
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