01/05/06 — Kitten, raccoon infected by rabies

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Kitten, raccoon infected by rabies

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on January 5, 2006 1:51 PM

Wayne County animal control authorities are investigating two cases of rabies reported within the past several days.

Chief Animal Control Officer Jerry Pate said one of the animals infected three county residents before it was quarantined.

The owner of a kitten living near Antioch Road in the northeast section of the county was bitten, as was his wife and brother-in-law, Pate said. Pate said bite marks on the kitten suggest it was bitten by a wild animal infected with rabies, perhaps a raccoon or fox.

The kitten was quarantined, according to the law, and eventually died, Pate said. State lab results showed it had rabies.

The three people are undergoing medical treatment, he said. The treatment consists of five injections over three weeks.

Rabies can be transmitted by scratches, bites or even a rabid animal's saliva, said Jim Roosen, the director of the Wayne County Health Department.

The second case involved a raccoon found near Indian Springs, in the southeastern part of the county.

Animal control officers responded Sunday morning when the owner of a dog reported his pet killed a raccoon after the animal entered the dog pen.

Pate said he believes the raccoon was infected between Saturday night and Sunday morning. Since the dog was possibly exposed to the disease, Pate said the animal received a booster shot. If the dog's vaccinations had not been current, he said the consequences could been much worse.

"If they aren't up-to-date, we have the animal quarantined for six months at the owner's expense, or it is euthanized," Pate said.

The dog is being quarantined for 10 days and will be closely watched for the following 45 days, he said.

Authorities urge pet owners to keep their animals vaccinated against rabies, and they warned Wayne residents to be on the lookout for animals acting strangely. Rabies often makes infected animals aggressive. Raccoons are a big carrier of the disease.

Anyone bitten or scratched by such an animal should seek medical attention immediately, they said.