Rabid raccoon confirmed in Spalding County


The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed a raccoon in Spalding County tested positive for rabies.

Spalding County Environmental Health Manager Kelly Wilson said the raccoon tested positive for rabies after fighting a dog in the Maple Drive area.

Health officials are urging people to stay away from wild or stray animals that appear to be unafraid of humans, and those that exhibit behaviors that are unusual of their character.

No other residents are believed to have had contact with the animal. All residents are encouraged to take precautions to protect their families and pets against rabies by learning signs of rabies and vaccinating pets.

Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals that is most often spread through the bite of an animal that is infected with the disease. Rabies infects the central nervous system, causing encephalopathy (a disease of the brain) and ultimately, death.

Early symptoms of the disease include fever and headache. As the disease progresses, neurological symptoms appear and may include insomnia, confusion, hallucinations, a slight or partial paralysis, hyper salivation, and/or difficulty swallowing.

“If you notice a wild or nocturnal animal moving about in the daytime and the animal appears to show no fear of people or the animal seems to behave in a sick or abnormal way, the animal may be infected with rabies,” said Hayla Folden, District 4 public information officer. “Therefore, people should avoid the animal and report it to the local health department or animal control.”

Treatment and prevention practices for rabies have proven to be almost 100 percent effective when initiated promptly.

Please report any bite, scratch or other contact with a wild animal to your local environmental health office.

“It is important to remember that although rabies occurs more often in wildlife, domestic animals like the family dog or cat can become infected as well. I strongly encourage owners to have all pets vaccinated to prevent rabies,” said Wilson.

Spalding County has two lab confirmed rabies cases for 2017, including this raccoon. According to the CDC, the majority of rabies cases reported annually occur in wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats.

For additional information about rabies, please contact your local animal control office, county environmental health office or visit the Georgia Division of Public Health web site at http://dph.georgia.gov/rabies or the CDC web site at http://www.cdc.gov.

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