Mostly, visitors to Hawaii are welcome here. Sometimes, they are not, and I think you’ll see why in today’s post. This case, and the ones that preceded it have raised the long-dreaded concern about the possibility of rabies in Hawaii.
To prevent rabies from entering Hawaii, the law requires that dogs, cats and carnivores complete one of two rigorous rabies quarantine protocols.
A traveling skunk was captured this week on arrival at Honolulu Harbor’s Pier 1. The crew used a fishing net to capture the animal. The young male skunk was transported by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture to an animal quarantine station and is now awaiting a test result by a laboratory for rabies.
It’s believed that the Hawaii traveler hitchhiked aboard a container ship docked yesterday at the pier. The ship had both domestic and international cargo onboard. That ship then went to Maui, where it was further investigated. Traps have also been deployed on Oahu in the event there are other skunks not yet seen.
There were a two prior incidents of skunk on that same pier, both last year and in 2018. Also in 2018, a live skunk was found by a trucking company in one of its containers, on Maui. All skunks have thus far tested negative for rabies.
In 2020, a live skunk was captured at the pier on Maui where today’s ship is headed. None of the prior skunks had rabies.
Rabies in Hawaii is a real concern for us.
Hawaii remains one of the few places in the world that’s remained rabies-free. Pets in Hawaii require rabies vaccines to protect public health. Skunks are prohibited in Hawaii and are considered to be one of the primary carrier of rabies.
The CDC says that bats are the most commonly infected wildlife nationally, and rabid bats are found in every state except Hawaii.
Equine rabies is a silent killer, and luckily horses here, including Beat of Hawaii’s mascot mule, are, at least for now, considered safe.