Orange County gets 12th confirmed rabies case

From staff reportsNovember 2, 2012 

  • Low-cost Clinic Low-cost rabies vaccinations will be offered as a part of the Animal Services Department’s Microchip Clinic on Saturday, Nov. 17, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Animal Services Center, 1601 Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill.

— The Orange County Animal Services Department received its 12th positive rabies result of the year from the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health.

Last year, the county recorded a total of 11 positive cases.

The case originated on Wednesday, when residents in the vicinity of Efland Cedar Grove Road and Harmony Church Road in Efland saw one of their dogs nudging a raccoon outside of their home.

One of the residents used a blanket and gloves to put the raccoon inside a crate, where it was later found dead. They called Animal Control the next morning to remove the raccoon for testing.

“Prevention is the best measure for effective rabies control,” said Bob Marotto, director of Animal Services. “Ensuring cats, dogs and ferrets are current on their rabies vaccinations is one of the most important responsibilities of a pet owner, since it can quite literally be the difference between life and death.”

Both pets in the home were currently vaccinated against rabies and will receive a booster shot pursuant to North Carolina statute.

Although only one dog had known exposure to the raccoon, both dogs live indoors together and had direct contact after the incident. According to the state’s rabies law, if there is “a reasonable suspicion of exposure,” a dog or cat with a current vaccination must receive a booster shot within 120 hours (five days). By contrast, an unvaccinated animal must either be destroyed or quarantined for a period of six (6) months.

A Communicable Disease Nurse from the Orange County Health Department will contact the animal owners to evaluate their risk of rabies exposure. There is the possibility of secondary exposure from all household members handling their own pets after the incident. A decision about the post-exposure prophylaxis that protects people from rabies is based upon an assessment of all the factors involved in this type situation.

Rabies is rooted in reservoir species, such as raccoons and bats. If there is any possibility of exposure, citizens should immediately call animal control or 9-1-1.

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