Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Rabid Thursday Thirteen


1. Yesterday evening I ventured over to another piece of property I own. I parked the car and to my surprise a fox was standing maybe 25 yards away. The animal was limping and since it did not run from my vehicle I immediately thought of rabies. It hung around a long time and I was afraid to get out of the car. I called my brother, who lives just down the road, and asked him to come down with his gun to rescue me. But by the time he arrived, the fox had headed down the creek.

2. Rabies is a viral disease found in animals that can be passed to humans. Symptoms of rabies include malaise, headache, and fever, progressing to acute pain, violent movements, uncontrolled excitement, depression, and hydrophobia. Finally, the sufferer may have periods of mania and lethargy before falling into a coma.
Untreated, it is always fatal. Each year, rabies kills about 55,000 people worldwide. The majority of those deaths are in Asia and Africa.

3. There has already been one rabid skunk reported this year in Botetourt County, where I live. In 2012, the county had 7 reported cases - 5 raccoons, 1 groundhog, and 1 skunk.

4. In Virginia, raccoons are by far the major carriers of the disease. However, it can be found in all mammals, including dogs, cats, cows, bobcats, foxes, goats, horses, etc.

5. The state had a total of 560 reported rabies cases in 2012. That's about average.

6. Recently, the newspapers reported that in the USA transplant recipients had received organs from someone infected by rabies. Those still living were having to take rabies treatment.

7. A few years ago we had a local rabies outbreak in foxes. Two people in our county were attacked by rabid foxes while they were outside doing yard work. One of them lived not far from me. The foxes died; the people didn't. Both had to have treatment.

8. The only story I am aware of that deals directly with rabies is Old Yeller, which is the name of both a book and a movie.

9. While looking up information about rabies, I discovered that
Saint Walburga (or Walpurga) is the Patron Saint Against Coughs, Against Dog Bites, Against Famine, Against Hydrophobia, Against Mad Dogs, Against Plague, Against Rabies, Against Storms, and of Boatmen, Harvests, Mariners, Sailors, Watermen.

10. Then I discovered that Saint Walburga is female. I am not Catholic so I did not know anything about this woman. She was canonized in 870, which was a very long time ago indeed. She was an English missionary to the Frankish empire. She could read and write and is considered by some to be the first woman author in both England and Germany.

11. Her remains were transferred to Eichstatt, Germany, where her bones were placed in a rocky niche. There they allegedly began to exude a miraculously therapeutic oil, which drew pilgrims to her shrine. No word on whether or not the oil cured rabies.

12. Apparently she has at times been represented with grain. The grain attribute has been interpreted as an occasion where a Christian saint (Walpurga) came to represent the older pagan concept of the Grain Mother. Peasant farmers fashioned her replica in a corn dolly at harvest time and told tales to explain Saint Walpurga's presence in the grain sheaf (thank you Wikipedia).

13. There is a church in Preston, Lancashire, England, that is dedicated to St. Walburga.


*This is not at all what I had intended to write, but what a fascinating path this lead me down.*


Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here. I've been playing for a while and this is my 287th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.

18 comments:

  1. loved it your header and conversation on food a full morning !!sk

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  2. We have found a few dead animals here and my mind frequently goes to rabies. If a bigger animal killed them, why didn't they eat them? RJ is fond of eating or rolling on any dead creatures he comes across. This means we have to dispose of them. Sometimes we call the animal control and sometimes we bag and send to the dump. Do you know what we should do????

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    1. Sounds like you're doing the right thing. We usually bury dead animals that we find on our farm.

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  3. Joe and I once came across a sickly raccoon on an island we had kayaked to. It had no fear and we were sure it had rabies but it never tried to attack. I loved the movie Old Yella. I remember me and my siblings bawling over the ending and I had a crush on the teen boy actor.

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    1. I only vaguely recall Old Yeller though I know I've seen the movie. I don't believe I ever read the book.

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  4. Oh my gosh, imagine a horse with rabies! SCARY! Thanks for playing :-)

    janet@thursday-13.com

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  5. I can't bear to think of any animal suffering from rabies. It simply breaks my heart.

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    1. It is sad, yes. Mother Nature can be harsh.

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  6. just goes to show any path may leave to sainthood. ;)

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  7. My dh and I once ran across a rabbit we thought might have rabies. We were hiking in the arboretum when we came up on it at the side of the path. It was twitching and showed no indication it intended to get out of the way. We ran past. Hey, we were young. Later we learned there was a flea epidemic in the arboretum. No frothing mouth, so that must have been it.

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    1. Fleas are better than rabies, I suppose, but I would be scared of either.

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  8. It's interesting the way the mind wanders sometimes, isn't it? Most of the rabies cases I hear about locally tend to involve bats. I think people need to be especially wary about rabies this time of year, when animals are becoming more active and people feel the need to get outside after a long winter. Thankfully, I have not had any run-ins with rabid or flea-infested animals during my excursions through the Arboretum (knock on wood).

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  9. We had some foxes in our neighborhood a few years ago. A mother and some cute, brown and fuzzy kits. I'm sorry to hear about the fox you saw, but Saint Walburga sounds interesting.

    http://www.miaceleste.com/?p=239

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  10. Wow, I didn't realize there were so many cases of rabies in the US. It's unknown in New Zealand.

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  11. That's a lot more about rabies than I knew previously, thanks for the post! I haven't ever come across a rabid animal, but always have known enough to stay away from the possibility.

    Happy TT!

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  12. That was fascinating! I loved how your rabies Th13 wandered over to St. Walburga. There's so many saints, you'd be hard pressed to find a Catholic who is aware of all of them. Including this one.

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