THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - Thomas County Health Department Environmental Health Specialist Jay Ridenhower is warning Thomas County residents to take special precautions around stray animals, particularly cats.
Ridenhower said it is not unusual to see positive rabies cases occasionally in the 14-county Southwest Health District. “Wild animals that are known to harbor the disease include raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats, bobcats and coyotes,” he said. “When they come into contact with strays or unvaccinated pets, they can pass the infection.”
Thomas Co. Animal Control is working on trapping the stray cats living in the area where the human rabies exposure occurred. If you see wild animals or strays that appear ill or that are acting unnaturally, contact your county's Animal Control.
“The best protection against rabies is to vaccinate your pets,” Ridenhower said. “Please avoid interacting with wild animals or strays, especially if they are showing odd behavior – such as being out during daytime or acting aggressively.”
Anyone bitten by wild animals or strays should seek immediate medical attention and contact your Health Department and law enforcement. “You should not attempt to catch the animal yourself. The authorities will handle that so that it can be tested for rabies.”
Rabies is fatal in humans if untreated, but almost 100% preventable in humans when prompt action is taken.
Georgia law requires dogs and cats three months old and older to be vaccinated against rabies. Pet ferrets should also receive rabies inoculations, as should valuable livestock, Ridenhower said.
For more information about rabies, click here