CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WSAV) – The Chatham County Health Department is reminding the community of rabies precautions after a raccoon on Isle of Hope tested positive for the virus.
The infected raccoon was found on Smith Drive and had contact with a family dog in the area. The dog is up to date on rabies vaccinations, but will undergo observation for 45 days as a precaution.
Several native Georgia species, including raccoons, foxes and bats, can carry rabies. Rabies is a potentially deadly virus.
Here is some advice from the health department’s Environmental Health office to protect you and your family:
- Avoid contact with animals you don’t know.
- Make sure your pets receive proper immunizations. Dogs and cats should get rabies shots after 12 weeks of age, followed by booster shots every 1-3 years.
- Do not handle, feed or attract wild animals with open garbage cans or by leaving food out at night.
- Never adopt wild animals or bring them inside your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals back to health.
- Teach children to never mess with unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear domestic. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to learn.
Symptoms of rabies in animals include change in behavior, biting, aggression, showing no dear of natural enemies, foaming at the mouth and paralysis.
If you are ever bitten by an animal, seek medical care right away and call Chatham County Animal Services at 912-652-6575 and the Chatham County Environmental Health office at 912-356-2160.