The Georgia Department of Health this week confirmed that a raccoon collected by Carroll County Animal Control on October 31st, after it charged a hunter in Villa Rica, has tested positive for rabies. The 47-year-old male hunter was on a property on Punkintown Road, when he said he sensed something was not right with the animal.
It appeared confused, it was making loud strange noises. I was about 30 feet away from the raccoon. And it took an interest in me and it quickly and violently charged in my direction. Probably within a few inches of my boot, I put an arrow through it and that slowed the attack. While I was dispatching the animal, I received a scratch on my hand and it did break the skin and that was where my concern was.
The hunter believed the scratch on his hand may have been caused by a piece of broken arrow, but he and his family were concerned enough about possible exposure to fluids from the possibly rabid raccoon, that he went to Tanner hospital for treatment, which includes a regimen of one dose of immune globulin and four doses of rabies vaccine over a 14-day period. The man alleged, that the cost for that treatment is more than $15,000.
This week, Corporal Eric Brown with the Department of Natural Resources said that it is uncommon to hear about rabies manifesting itself in cooler months, although he said, wildlife experts are aware that the rabies virus is out there in west Georgia. He advised pet owners to make sure their animals are up to date on immunizations; and advises that anytime wildlife has lost its fear of humans, there is something to be concerned about with that animal.
Georgia Public Health officials, on Tuesday, said nine animals suspected of rabies in Carroll County have been tested this year. They say the raccoon in Villa Rica was the first to test positive.