WILMINGTON ISLAND, GA (WTOC) -The Coastal Health District is warning residents of Wilmington Island to be cautious around feral animals after a racoon in the River Oaks subdivision tested positive for rabies.
A family’s dog that came into contact with the racoon is up to date on its vacinations and will receive an additional vaccine.
Rabies is a virus that has the potential to be deadly, and can spread to several different kinds of animals that are local to coastal Georgia, including racoons, foxes, and bats. The Coastal Health District has these tips to prevent you or your loved ones from contracting rabies.
- Avoid contact with animals you don’t know.
- Make sure your pets receive the proper immunizations. Dogs and cats should get rabies vaccines after 12 weeks of age, followed by a booster shot within one year and vaccination every 1-3 years depending on veterinary recommendation and vaccine used.
- Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or by leaving pet food out at night.
- Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or a properly licensed animal rescue agency for assistance.
- Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to learn.
Symptoms of rabies in animals can include a change in behavior, biting, aggression, showing no fear of natural enemies (such as humans), foaming at the mouth, and paralysis.
If an animal ever bites you, seek medical care immediately and contact Chatham County Animal Services at 912-652-6575 and the Chatham County Environmental Health office at 912-356-2160.