LaGrange, Ga. – The Georgia Public Health Lab has confirmed that a groundhog in Carroll County recently tested positive for rabies. It was sent for testing after fighting with a resident’s dogs in the Lowell area. Both dogs were vaccinated and received a booster shot. All residents are encouraged to take precautions to protect their families and pets against rabies by learning signs of rabies and vaccinating pets.
Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals that is most often spread through the bite of an animal that is infected with the disease. Rabies infects the central nervous system, causing encephalopathy (a disease of the brain) and, ultimately, death. Early symptoms of the disease include fever and headache. As the disease progresses, neurological symptoms appear and may include insomnia, confusion, hallucinations, a slight or partial paralysis, hyper salivation, and/or difficulty swallowing.
“We are not seeing a high occurrence of rabies,” said Hayla Folden, District 4 public information officer. “This time of year people are more likely to spend time outdoors and coming into contact with wild or stray animals.”
Treatment and prevention practices for rabies have proven to be almost 100 percent effective when initiated promptly. Please report any bite, scratch, or other contact with a wild or stray animal to your local animal control office.
“It is important to remember that although rabies occurs more often in wildlife, domestic animals like the family dog or cat can become infected as well. I strongly encourage owners to have all pets vaccinated to prevent rabies,” said Seth Woodrow, County Environmental Health Manager.
There has been one other positive rabies case in Carroll County in April of this year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the majority of rabies cases reported annually occur in wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats. For more information about rabies, please contact your local animal control office, county environmental health office, or visit the Georgia Division of Public Health web site at http://dph.georgia.gov/rabies or the CDC web site at www.cdc.gov.