UPDATE: As of 11:40 A.M. on September 19, the two dogs referred to in this press release had been euthanized, according to Shannon Bradburn of Fannin County Environmental Health. 

Blue Ridge
(GA) September 19, 2012 - Fannin County Environmental Health officials announced today that a raccoon that fought two dogs in Mineral Bluff has now tested positive for rabies.

The dogs were not vaccinated, therefore, the decision is being made as to whether or not they will be euthanized.

There was no known human exposure to the raccoon.rabid raccoonStock photo

According to Environmental Health Specialist Shannon Bradburn, Fannin County Environmental Health received a call on Thursday, September 13 from a friend of the dogs' owner who said the dogs had fought the raccoon that day at the owner's residence on Jasper Road in Mineral Bluff. The friend said the raccoon was dead and they were making arrangements to have it taken to a local veterinarian who prepared the remains for shipping to the state lab.

On the next business day, Monday, September 17, environmental health picked up the specimen and shipped it to the Georgia State Laboratory for rabies testing, and the lab confirmed late afternoon on Tuesday, September 18 that the raccoon had tested positive for the rabies virus.

Environmental health officials immediately notified all parties involved of the positive results, and today, they are contacting residents in the area to assess if others had been exposed and to alert them to the possibility of more rabid animals in the area.

Health officials advise residents that if they are bitten by a potentially rabid animal, thoroughly wash the wound with soap and water, rinse for several minutes, and seek immediate medical attention. If a pet is bitten, 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

Individuals can help prevent the spread of rabies by making sure pets are current on their vaccinations. To prevent rabies exposure, avoid contact with all unfamiliar animals, both domestic and wild.

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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