Protecting children, pets from rabies

This undated electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and...
This undated electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows rabies virions, dark and bullet-shaped, within an infected tissue sample. (F. A. Murphy/CDC via AP)(F. A. Murphy | AP/CDC)
Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 6:52 AM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Health officials are asking you to take steps to protect your kids and pets.

This comes after a raccoon tested positive for rabies in Chatham County last week after biting two dogs. Those pets were vaccinated and survived.

Rabies is usually 100 percent fatal, so it is something to take seriously. When it comes to pets - get them vaccinated. When it comes to kids, it all starts with a conversation.

Experts recommend teaching your kids to love your own animals and leave all other animals alone. Chatham County Health Officials say there are a lot of high-risk animals in our region, which includes raccoons, bats, foxes and bobcats. Also, feral cats since they are eating from the same source as the other animals.

The most recent case in the county, where they were able to actually test the raccoon, is rare because they don’t always have access to the animal after a bite.

“We don’t have the animals to test all the time so it is kind of hit or miss, some years are heavier for coming back positive, some years are less so I’ve been doing this for a long time and you just never know,” Chatham County Health Department Rabies Program Manager Beth Grubbs said.

If you don’t have the animal for testing, the emergency room is the only way to get post exposure rabies treatment. Experts say you should always report bites to animal services or the health department.

This is not something to take a chance with so if you are off of work this week, take some time to get the dog into the vet for the vaccine and start that conversation with your kids.