12011Feb

Health Department Confirms First Rabies Case in 2011

Records from 2007 reveal another rabies case at the same location

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 1, 2011


BURLINGTON – The North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health in Raleigh confirmed Alamance County’s first rabies case for the year late Tuesday afternoon.

The rabid raccoon was found fighting with a dog at a residence on Mt. Herman-Rock Creek Road in southern Alamance County on Sunday.  The animal control division of the Alamance County Sherriff’s Office was called to investigate.  The dog had not been vaccinated against rabies and has been euthanized.  According to records, another rabies case occurred in the area back in August 2010 and at the same location in 2007.

“It is unfortunate that this dog was not currently vaccinated,” said Carl Carroll, Director of Environmental Health with the Alamance County Health Department.  “It is extremely important for all dog and cat owners to keep their pets rabies vaccinations up to date.  Given that there have been three documented cases in the area, all residents should be even more vigilant and take precautions.”

Rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats are normally less than $20.00 at most veterinarian offices. These shots must be kept up to date.  If a dog or cat is exposed to a known or expected rabid animal, North Carolina General Statues require that the dog or cat be euthanized or quarantined for six months at an approved animal control facility or a veterinarian’s office at the owner’s expense.

Once the rabies virus enters the body through a bite from a rabid animal, it travels along the nerves to the brain.  Depending on the individual dog or cat, signs of rabies may manifest in as little as a few weeks or as long as six months.  In animals, rabies is almost always fatal.  However, there are shots that humans can get once they have a rabies exposure, but those shots are very expensive, usually averaging $3,000 or more for the post-exposure series.

If someone is bitten by an animal, they should immediately wash the wound with warm water and soap, seek medical attention, and call animal control personnel or the health department.

For more information regarding low-cost rabies vaccination providers or for questions about the laws regarding rabies vaccination for animals, please contact the health department’s Environmental Health division at (336) 570-6367.