09/20/06 — Rabid raccoon located in Grantham area

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Rabid raccoon located in Grantham area

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 20, 2006 1:48 PM

A ninth case of rabies has been reported by Wayne County Animal Control officers.

Jerry Pate, the county's chief animal control officer, confirmed Tuesday that the case involved a raccoon and that it occurred west of the Grantham area.

"We got the call on the 13th. (The raccoon) was almost deceased, in real bad shape," he said. "A dog had gotten ahold of it."

The raccoon was euthanized and sent to a state lab for testing. Pate said that animals suspected of having rabies can only be tested if they have been exposed to a domestic pet or a human.

"State contacted us and confirmed it the following day so we could take proper action," he said.

Typically, that means contacting a doctor to get shots, if human contact is involved, or notifying a veterinarian to have booster rabies shots within 72 hours for animals involved. Pate added that if an animal is not up-to-date on vaccinations, owners are required to quarantine the pet for six months.

The last reported case of rabies was in August, Pate said, and occurred in the same part of the county.

It was the ninth case of rabies reported in Wayne this year, Pate said. They have involved a fox, seven raccoons, and, in January, a domestic cat. Pets are vulnerable if they come into contact with wild animals carrying the disease.

"That's why it's so important for the owner to be responsible and get those rabies vaccinations up-to-date," Pate said.

James Roosen, the director of the Wayne County Health Department, said the public needs to be aware that rabies is a problem and to be on the lookout for animals that act unusually aggressive.

"The biggest concern I have is that it's endemic here in our wildlife," he said. "People can definitely be exposed to rabies."