Massive Rabies Outbreak in Reeves County

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

PECOS - Reeves County is going all out to stop a massive rabies outbreak. Many residents in the city of Pecos are getting their pets up to date on their shots and vaccines. But Police are warning all residents in that area to stay on the alert.

Both Police officers and doctors said in the last few months they've seen more cases of domestic animals catching Rabies outside the city limits. They worry dogs or other animals will bite humans and spread the virus. NewsWest 9 learned what Pecos Authorities are doing to keep residents safe.

Pecos officials said they're lucky no humans have been killed in the rabies outbreak. However, since the beginning of this year, they've got lots of reports of rabid animals biting residents. And because it hasn't slown down, officers admit it's still a big concern.

"This is the worst outbreak that I've ever experienced here in Reeves County. We've had more rabies cases here this year than we ever have," said Chief Clay McKinney with the Pecos Police Department.

Chief McKinney said they've been trying to warn everyone about the potential danger. He said the message is pretty clear.

"They have to get those animals vaccinated. That's our best preventive method that we can attack is the rabies vaccine," explained Chief McKinney.

In addition, officers said it's a good idea not to let animals wonder off your property. Doctor Ronald Box, with the Pecos Animal Clinic, said he thinks the rabies may have spread from Pyote or Cyanosa. And while it may not be the "Cure-all," he said vaccines are a big help.

"We're not with our pets all the time, and our pets go outside and if they get exposed to a coyote and get bitten, and we may never find and injury on them. We may never find anything on them at all, but two, three, four weeks after the virus incubates, they can develop rabies, and then expose us," explained Dr. Box.

Workers at the vet have also had to put down some dogs in Reeves County because they got rabies and didn't get their shots.

"You have to remember, our goal is not to save the life of a pet in something like this, our goal is to prevent this from being picked up by a human unaware and then developing rabies and dying. Rabies kills," warned Dr. Box. "There's no two ways about it, you get rabies, you will die."

It's important to note early treatment helps in all its forms. Dr. Box said if you've been bitted by your pet after it's been in contact with a wild animal, you need to let a doctor know immediately. That's because he said the best way to stop the virus is to keep it from spreading.