DURHAM — Durham County officials are warning residents to get their pets vaccinated after a fifth case of rabies was found this year.
A rabid fifth rabies-infected raccoon -- this one found in the 100 block of Bahama Road -- was confirmed by the N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health.
The other locations where rabies-infected raccoons have been found are the 5300 block of Cheek Road, 600 block of Chalice Street, 2300 block of Alabama Avenue and the 2300 block of Strawberry Lane. There had been no confirmed reports of rabies in the county last year.
"It is important to know that close interactions with raccoons by humans, pets and other wild animals may result in the spread of rabies," said Susan Thompson, the county's public health communicable disease coordinator. "Raccoons have adapted well to urban and suburban areas, so it is not uncommon to see raccoons around your home. If you see a raccoon in your yard or around your home, assume it is infected with rabies and stay away from it."
The Centers for Disease Control said 6,153 cases of rabies were reported in 48 states and Puerto Rico in 2010, with 92 percent of those cases involving wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes. The rest came from domesticated animals such as pets and dogs.
The sheriff's Animal Services Division at 3005 Glenn Rd. offers rabies vaccines every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m. for $15. No appointment is necessary, but photo identification is required and payments must be made in cash. For more information, call 919-560-0630.
Anyone who encounters a possibly infected animal should call the sheriff at 919-560-0900.