Raccoon in Mills River tests positive for rabies

Press release from Henderson Co. Dept. of Public Health:

A raccoon that fought with a pet dog has tested positive for the rabies virus. The incident occurred on September 26 in Mills River, and county officials received confirmation on September 28 from the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health.

Animal control found the raccoon deceased to due injuries inflicted by the dog. The dog was up-to-date on rabies vaccine and is currently being quarantined for 45 days to monitor for signs of rabies.

This is the first positive rabies case in Henderson County this year. Deputies will be posting flyers and contacting residences within a mile radius of the encounter in Mills River. The raccoon may have interacted with other pets or wild animals in the area, so residents should be alert for any unusual behaviors or sickness in their pets or wildlife.

Anyone who may have had contact with an unfamiliar pet or wild animal recently should contact a Communicable Disease Nurse with the Department of Public Health at 828-694-6019 immediately. If you think your pet was exposed or have questions, call the Henderson County Sheriff Office’s Animal Enforcement Division at 697-4911.

Rabies is a deadly viral disease affecting the central nervous system. Rabies can be prevented but not cured. A healthy animal or human can get rabies when bitten, licked or scratched by a sick animal.

Officials with the Henderson County Sheriff’s Animal Enforcement Division and the Department of Public Health are urging residents to ensure their pet’s rabies vaccination is current and to contact a veterinarian immediately if their pet seems injured from an unknown cause, displays unusual behaviors or appears sick—even if the animal is current on its rabies vaccination.

For more information about rabies, visit the Health Department’s website at hendersoncountync.gov/health and click on the Community Interest link.

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