Raccoon tests positive for rabies
According to Helen White, Director of Nursing at Rutherford County Health Department, July 15, the North Carolina State Lab notified Rutherford County Animal Control and Rutherford County Health Department that a raccoon had tested positive for rabies.
The raccoon had been involved in an altercation with two dogs in the Walls Community in Ellenboro. White said this is the third case of rabies in a wild animal in Rutherford County this year.
There was no human exposure to the raccoon. When there is human exposure to a rabid animal the person is encouraged to take post exposure rabies vaccine.
In 2012 Rutherford County had 11 positive rabies cases, five raccoons, five skunks and one fox.
Since June 15, Rutherford County animal control has received reports of various animals that were exhibiting signs and symptoms of rabies but were unable to be tested due to the condition of the animals when found.
These animals were from the following areas: Lake Lure, Union Mills, Whitesides Road area and Park Street in the Spindale area. If an animal is sent for testing and is unable to be tested it is reported as suspicious for rabies and therefore health officials must follow up with the persons exposed to ensure that they receive rabies vaccines if warranted.
Rutherford County Health Director, Jimmy Hines and Rutherford County Animal Control Staff advises that residents should be sure that their animals are under their direct control at all times. Animals that are allowed to wander or run loose are at a greater risk of coming into contact with rabid animals. If your pet is exposed to a rabid animal and its rabies vaccinations are not up to date the pet will have to be euthanized or placed in a strict supervised quarantine at the owner’s expense for up to 6 months. If your animal has been vaccinated it will need a booster vaccine, after evaluation by a Veterinarian, if exposed to rabies.
During the next six months anyone living in the above listed areas should watch for animals with unusual behavior and be sure all pets have current rabies vaccinations. All local veterinarians offer rabies vaccines in their offices.
Rutherford County Animal Control offers one year rabies vaccines at the animal shelter Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at a cost of $10.00. All local veterinarians also offer rabies vaccines in their offices.
NC State law requires that all cats and dogs have an initial rabies vaccine at 4 months of age. The animal must receive another rabies vaccine in one year, then a booster vaccine every three years.
Anyone who sees an animal displaying abnormal behaviors should call the Rutherford County Animal Control Department at 828-287-6025.