Moose tests positive for rabies virus in Teller

a moose
A bull moose (File/KNOM)

A moose has tested positive for rabies in Western Alaska.

The Norton Sound Health Corporation’s Office of Environmental Health is encouraging residents of the region to make sure that their pets are vaccinated against the rabies virus after a moose tested positive for the virus in Teller.

According to a release from NSHC, on June 2, residents in Teller — a community of about 250 people, roughly 70 miles northwest of Nome — reported that a moose was acting aggressively toward people and showing other signs of the virus.

The Alaska Department of Fish & Game responded, and the moose later tested positive for rabies.

The rabies-positive moose is the first confirmed case in Alaska. The virus detected is the same variant of the rabies virus that has been found in red foxes, which according to ADF&G, suggests the moose was most likely infected by a fox.

ADF&G encourages anyone who finds a dead mammal or sees a mammal exhibiting signs of rabies, to report their sighting immediately to ADF&G.

Signs of rabies include sudden behavioral changes, such as staggering, aggression, fatigue, excessive drooling, uncoordinated movements, biting at themselves, chasing vehicles, or acting unaware of their surroundings. Photos and videos can be helpful to evaluate the animal, but it is most important to keep your distance to avoid exposure.

All dogs and cats should be vaccinated against rabies at three months old, again one year later, and every three years after that.

To contact ADF&G to report anything wildlife-related, call 907-443-2271. To reach out to NSHC regarding pet exposure or vaccinations, call 907-434-1659 or 907-434-0543.

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