Rabid raccoon found in vicinity of Southern Village

, Rabid raccoon found in vicinity of Southern Village, The Local Reporter
canine flu precautions

 COMMUNITY

Compiled by Michelle Cassell
Managing Editor 

A raccoon captured by Orange County Animal Services has been identified as being positive for rabies, according to the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health. This incident involved a raccoon near US Hwy 15-501 and Southern Village.

This case originated on February 20, when a resident’s dog had an altercation with a raccoon while walking outside. Animal Control removed the raccoon for rabies testing.

“The rabies virus has been around for thousands of years, and it’s unfortunately here to stay,” Tenille Fox, Communications Specialist for Orange County Animal Services, told TLR. “Everyone should be respectful of wildlife and keep their distance. It’s crucial that pets are current on the rabies vaccination, because you never know when an unexpected interaction with wildlife may occur.”

How is possible exposure to rabies handled?

PEOPLE:

When needed, a Communicable Disease Nurse from the Orange County Health Department evaluates the risk of rabies exposure to humans. A decision about the post-exposure prophylaxis that protects people from rabies is based upon assessing all the factors involved.

PETS:

When there is “a reasonable suspicion of exposure,” a dog, cat, or ferret with a valid rabies vaccination history must receive a booster shot within 96 hours (4 days). By contrast, an unvaccinated cat or dog must either be euthanized or quarantined for a period of up to four (4) months (or six (6) months for a ferret).

LIVESTOCK:

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services is contacted about any livestock that may have exposure to rabies.

Orange County Animal Services recommends ensuring your pets are current on their rabies vaccinations. It is important for the health of your family and your pets. Rabies is a fatal viral infection. Your veterinarian is the best source of information on vaccinations for your pet. You may review the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention for more rabies information.

In North Carolina and other areas, rabies is common in bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, wolves, groundhogs, and beavers. The bat is a host species of rabies in our region and others. Of the few cases of rabies in humans in our country in recent years, most have been traced to bats. If there is any possibility of exposure from a bat, it is critical that citizens immediately contact their animal control program. If an incident involving a bat – or other rabies vector, such as a raccoon or skunk – should occur outside regular hours of service, an Animal Control Officer should be reached right away through Emergency Communications 911.

Did you know?

Rabies virus can be transmitted through secondary saliva exposure when handling an animal, so do not touch your pet without gloves if it has had any possible exposure to rabies.

It is a law in North Carolina that dogs, cats and ferrets older than four months must have a current and valid rabies vaccination at all times.

If a rabies suspect animal is alive, do not attempt to capture the animal. Keep visual contact with the animal until an Animal Control Officer arrives.

If you discover a bat inside your house, be sure not to release it, but do remove yourself and any animals from the area.

Always call Animal Control immediately if you find a bat in your home, even if there is no evidence of a bite.


Michelle Cassell is a seasoned reporter who has covered everything from crime to hurricanes and local politics to human interest over the course of 35 years. As managing editor, she hopes to encourage writers of a wide range of backgrounds and interests in TLR’s coverage of Southern Orange County news. 

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