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County Confirms Fifth Rabies Case For 2013 In Wilmington Area

Managing Editor

NEW HANOVER CTY - A fifth case of rabies has been confirmed in New Hanover County for 2013.
A raccoon tested positive for rabies following an encounter on Friday, June 14.
New Hanover County Animal Services Unit responded to a call in the area of Greenville Avenue in Wilmington to locate a raccoon that was in a fight with a pet. The owner risked potential exposure by handling their pet after the encounter.
A state lab contacted the Animal Services Unit (ASU) to notify them the raccoon tested positive for rabies. The pet owner was notified of the confirmation and will confirm whether the pet was up to date on their rabies vaccination shots.
Rabies is a deadly viral disease that can be prevented but not cured.
Animals that have a current rabies vaccination at the time of exposure should be re-boostered within five days (2009 Centers for Disease Control guidelines) of exposure.  Recommendation is to euthanize exposed animals that are not current with their rabies vaccination.
There are three primary routes of transmission of the rabies virus, which is carried in the saliva of the infected animal: 1) the primary route of transmission is through a bite which breaks
the skin of the victim, 2) salivary contact to an open, fresh wound, or, 3) salivary contact to the mucous membranes of a potential victim. Please maintain a current rabies vaccination for your pet; this is the primary defense against the spread of this fatal disease.
When dealing with primary rabies vectors (raccoons, foxes, skunks, and bats) or unknown animals, such as wildlife, it is recommended that the animal be handled with protective gloves to prevent viral transmission. 
Personal pets should not be handled without protection directly after being exposed to wildlife, due to the potential for carrying residual
saliva from the infected animal. You should stay away from any animal that you have not been cleared to hold or pet, including owned dogs or cats, and especially wildlife. 
Feeding wildlife is ill advised.  Prevention is better than reaction after the fact of exposure.
Follow these guidelines to make sure you and your pets are protected:
• Wash every wound to remove any saliva from yourself and/or your pet, which is how the virus is carried. (Be sure to wear protective gloves to handle exposed pets.)
• Call Animal Control Services to report any exposure. Be sure to provide an accurate description of the attacking animal and the owner’s name and address, if known.
• Contact your doctor and/or your pet’s veterinarian, even if the wound is minor.
• Capture and isolate the attacking animal if possible. Keep children away from all animals involved.
• If your currently vaccinated pet is exposed to a rabid or potentially rabid animal, you must re-vaccinate it within five days.
• Keep your property free of garbage and pet food that may attract wildlife. Be sure to secure all trash container tops.
Rabies clinics will be held on September 21 and November 16.
Clinic hours are from 9-11 Saturday on all above dates and will be held at the ASU facility located at 180 Division Drive.
The owner must bring certificate from previous rabies vaccine in order to get a 3 year vaccine. (a rabies tag is not proof)