I know this will always be on ongoing issue for all trappers. To make things worse, most insurances won't pay for vacines and some will try to deny treatment if they think it is a "work related exposier" due to workers comp laws. But none of cover ourselves with workers comp on the trapline.
I've done a lot of work with the rabies Hotline in my state and here's a few tips.
1st: you do not have to be bitten to be exposed, any major nerve tissue or saliva fluid will carry it. It is possible to be exposed via airborn such as in the case of bat poop so watch that.
2nd: Although Rabies has a short life out of the body, it will remain active so long as there is any dampmess to saliva, etc. Think about how you handle things and what's left behind. Wear protective gloves and keep a bottle of bleech/water mix to spray over and wipe down your work area and equiptment.
Safety glasses and a mask is what you will be told to use by anyone with the health dept. It is also possible to be exposed by saliva or other splattering you in the face, I know of someone who was exposed via saliva shooken off an animal before skinning.
3rd: Keep in mind, "Exposier" does not mean that you actually got the virus on a mucus membrain (nose, eyes) or in your system. Exposier means just that, you were there and the virus was there.
4th: Secondary exposier to others, example, you're skinning your catch and your spouse or child comes out to watch. Something splatters and whoops! Or after skinning you take off your gloves and apron and go inside and you 2 year old comes running up and jumps into your arms but you unknowingly had undried saliva from an infected animal on your clothes!
There's lots more info and I'm sure people can add a lot. This became more important to me after the birth of my first grandson. And it's such an important topic because
THERE IS NO CURE FOR RABIES! So we have to take every precaution to protect outselves and other.
Here's a couple of tips. If you are exposed, DO NOT TELL YOUR DOCTOR OR ER YOU WERE OUT DOING ANIMAL CONTROL WORK!, if you want your insurance to cover it without a fight.
I wish we all could be vacinated (especially my grandson), but at over $1,000 when I looked into it a couple years ago, I was just waiting to get bit.
But recently I foound out that out local Visiting Nurse Assoc does the injections for free and the way they do it, 7 people can be vacinated from one set of vials. The vials must be used or tossed with in 5-6 hours of opening. My brother and I are going through the shots and with a group of 5 people it's costing $180 each.
This was done in coordination with out state trappers assoc. and state employees and anyone else who wishes to participate. Talk to your local clinics, assoc members, etc and get together as a group and protect yourself and your family. If you get exposed and don't know it, who else in your family could you infect?
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