Health department warns of rabid raccoon on Wilmington Island

Health department warns of rabid raccoon on Wilmington Island
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WILMINGTON IS., Ga. (WTOC) - The Coastal Health District says a raccoon in the Wilmington Island Road area of Wilmington Island has tested positive for rabies.

Health officials say a family’s dog with no history of receiving the rabies vaccine may have had contact with the rabid raccoon. They say the dog will be under quarantine for four months to make sure he does not exhibit any symptoms of the disease.

Rabies is a virus that has the potential to be deadly and can spread to several different kinds of animals.

The Coastal Health District offers the following 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.

Health officials say 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.

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