Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rabies in the Piedmont Triad

Last Thursday, shoppers at the Kohl's in Kernersville were surprised by a wild fox that was trying to enter the store.  Police were called, and an officer said that the fox was acting strangely and showed no fear of humans.  Those are two common warning signs of a potentially rabid animal.

According to the Greensboro News & Record, over the past three years, Guilford County has seen the biggest increase in rabies cases in the Piedmont Triad.  (The Kohl's in Kernersville is in Forsyth County, about 10 minutes from the Guilford County line.)  Skunks, foxes and raccoons are the most common carriers, with raccoons at the lead.

The actions of an animal with rabies depends on the type of animal itself.  Raccoons look like drunks, waddling around, often acting aggressively towards inanimate objects.  Rabid foxes also act aggressively.  Skunks are usually lethargic.  

Rabies is vaccine-preventable, and North Carolina law (N.C. general statute 130A-185) requires owners of dogs, cats and ferrets to have their pets currently vaccinated against rabies, beginning at four months of age.

It is extremely important to seek medical attention if you have been bitten by an animal and it is uncertain whether or not the animal has been vaccinated against rabies.

Number of Rabies Cases in the Piedmont Triad 01/01/12-11/17/12
(Color code below)
 Source: North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health                                                          
ALAMANCE   001000000014
          Alamance County: 6 total cases
CASWELL      000000000012
           Caswell County: 3 total cases
DAVIE          000000100034
            Davie County: 8 total cases
DAVIDSON  100000020031
             Davidson County: 7 total cases
FORSYTH     301000020044
              Forsyth County: 14 total cases
GUILFORD       1000000700 154
              Guilford County: 27 total cases
               Montgomery County: 1 total cases
RANDOLPH       003000020010  0
                Randolph County: 15 total cases
                 Rockingham County: 11 total cases
STOKES         000000000040
                 Stokes County: 4 total cases
SURRY           000000000070
                 Surry County: 7 total cases
YADKIN         000000000050
                  Yadkin County: 5 total cases

Color code (Parentheses indicates total rabies cases in the 12 County Piedmont Triad area)
Bat (5)                              Cow (0)                      Equine (1)          Possom (0)                     Bobcat (0)                   Deer (0)                      Fox (15)                        Raccoon (58)                Cat  (5)                            Dog (0)                        Goat (0)                         Skunk (23)

Most counties, and some veterinarians, have scheduled rabies clinics with the vaccination offered at a reduced cost (usually around $5.)  You can also have your pet vaccinated at regular price year-round.

You'll find a complete agency listing at the North Carolina Animal Control & Rabies Association.  

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