The first confirmed animal rabies case of the new year for Fannin County has been reported by the Fannin County Environmental Health Office.  Residents of Harper Valley Road in Mineral Bluff called county environmental health staff late on December 31 and stated that a neighborhood dog had fought with a raccoon.
 
Some of the neighbors confined the raccoon in a wildlife cage and took it to a veterinarian who euthanized the animal and prepared it for rabies testing.  County environmental health shipped the remains to the state laboratory in Decatur on Monday, January 6, and the results confirming that the raccoon had been positive for rabies came in late on Wednesday, January 7.  

Residents said the dog that had fought with the raccoon was a free roaming animal in the neighborhood and was not owned by any one individual. However, they stated one family living in the area had maintained the dog’s rabies vaccinations. The residents who reported the incident stated that they would be responsible for the costs of the shipping of the remains of the raccoon for testing, and they would also be responsible for the dog’s booster shot and 45-day restraint and observation period.
 
Individuals can help prevent the spread of rabies by making sure pets and livestock are up to date on their vaccinations, and by avoiding contact with unfamiliar animals.  Officials further recommend that residents have their pets spayed or neutered to help reduce the number of unwanted animals.  If bitten by a potentially rabid animal, individuals are advised to thoroughly wash the wound with soap and water, and seek immediate medical attention. If a pet is bitten, the owner should seek veterinary assistance for the animal right away. 

The health care provider and/or the veterinarian will need to report exposure to local environmental health officials who will use the following criteria to assess the risk of rabies exposure:
  • The geographic location of the incident
  • The type of animal that was involved
  • How the exposure occurred (provoked or unprovoked)
  • The vaccination status of the animal(s)
  • Whether the animal can be safely captured and tested for rabies
For more information about rabies and rabies exposure prevention, please contact the
Fannin County Environmental Health Office at (706) 632-3024, or log onto the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov.

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