92012Mar

Health Department Confirms Third Rabies Case for 2012

Skunk fights with three dogs, one dog placed under six month quarantine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 9, 2012


BURLINGTON – The North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health in Raleigh has confirmed Alamance County’s third rabies case for the year and eighteenth confirmed case since April 2010.

On Wednesday, a skunk entered an area at a residence on Gilliam Church Road in northwest Alamance County, where three dogs were contained by an underground fence system.  The skunk was killed during the confrontation and was subsequently sent to the state laboratory for testing.

The health department was notified on Thursday that the skunk tested positive for rabies. So far this year, all three documented cases of rabies have involved skunks.

Two of the dogs were up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations, but one was not.  The vaccinated dogs received booster rabies vaccinations within five days, as required by state law.  State law requires that the unvaccinated dog be euthanized, or as an alternative to euthanization, it may be quarantined at a facility approved by the local health director for six months. The dog’s owner has opted for quarantine and will be responsible for all costs during the quarantine period, which will last until September, if the dog does not develops rabies and subsequently dies from the exposure.

“This clearly illustrates the importance of making sure dogs and cats are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations,” said Carl Carroll, Alamance County Health Department Environmental Health Director.  “If your pet’s rabies vaccination has lapsed, get them vaccinated immediately to protect them and protect others.  Dogs and cats are at an increased risk to come in contact with rabid animals and if not properly protected, they may contract rabies and expose human to this deadly virus.”

For more information or questions about rabies control and vaccinations requirements, contact the health department’s Environmental Health office at (336) 570-6367.