• Jefferson Weaver

Rabies Cases Reported on Red Hill

One confirmed and one possible case of rabies were announced today by the Columbus County Health Department Both cases involve wild animals, according to an announcement by CCHD. One was verified by the state veterinarian while the second wild animal is still being tested. Both cases occurred in the Red Hill Road area of Columbus County.

The Health Department did not say what species of animals were reported sick.

Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the nervous system; it is predominantly seen in raccoons, foxes, bats, and skunks, as well as in dogs, cats and other domestic animals. Any mammal can contract rabies, but many species die before exhibiting symptoms.

Possums are more resistant to rabies, but they are not immune to the disease. Coyotes and bobcats tend to avoid sick animals, thus reducing their chance of exposure, but a few rabid bobcats are reported almost every year in North Carolina.

Signs of rabies include confusion, aggression, walking in circles, and behavior atypical of wild animals. Rabies does not always cause aggressive behavior in animals, but can lead some wildlife to lose their natural fear of humans.

Rabies can be spread through a bite, scratch or even licking by an infected animal. Humans must undergo a series of shots oof they are exposed to a suspect animal. Domestic animals that have been exposed but are not current on vaccinations must be euthanized or confined for six months, in an approved enclosure, at the expense of the owner.

Pet owners should remember that the best way to protect themselves, their families, and their pets is to keep their pets and any other animals with which they come into routine contact up-to-date on rabies vaccination.

For information on vaccinating pets, call Columbus County Animal Protective Services at 910.641.3945. For other in formation about rabies, contact the Columbus County Health Department at 910.640.6615.

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