Little Brown Bat
Little Brown Bat
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A three year old male cat in Gilmer County was recently exposed to a bat that later tested positive for rabies, according to Gilmer County Environmental Health officials.

“The cat’s owner found it playing with the bat in their yard in the Craigtown Road/52 West area on July 30,” said Andrea Wheeler, Gilmer County Environmental Health Manager. “The owner contacted our department where the bat was shipped for rabies testing and it was found to be positive for rabies on August 5.”

Ms. Wheeler added, “As with other recent rabies exposure incidents in the area, this is another very unfortunate story because, like the last few cases, this family pet was not currently vaccinated against rabies.”

The owner was contacted immediately with the test result and given the option to euthanize the cat because it was currently not vaccinated for rabies, or the owner could quarantine the pet in strict isolation per state standards.
The outcome status of the pet is still pending at this time.
No human exposure occurred.
Ms Wheeler said, “Because we are a rural county with abundant wildlife, residents and visitors are being warned that our county is considered endemic for rabies. Dogs, cats, skunks, raccoons, bats, foxes, coyotes, ferrets, etc... all these can carry the rabies virus. It is absolutely critical that pet owners vaccinate and keep their pets vaccinated against rabies.

“It is Georgia State Law that you maintain current rabies vaccinations on your yard animals as well as your family pets. If your pet is exposed to rabies and is unvaccinated, your two choices are strict 6-month quarantine or euthanasia for your pet or yard pet. My goal is to protect public health and your job is to vaccinate your pets against rabies.”

For more information about rabies, call Gilmer County Environmental Health at (706) 635-6050 or log onto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov.

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