Stray beagle in Gilmer County tests positive for rabies

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ELLIJAY, Ga. – A Gilmer County couple learned today that a stray beagle that had been near their home tested positive for rabies; however, county environmental health officials determined neither the couple nor their pets had been exposed to the virus the dog carried.

“We’re constantly reminding the public to avoid contact with both stray and wild animals,” said Andrea Martin, Gilmer County environmental health manager. “If you don’t know the rabies vaccination status of an animal, you’re putting yourself at risk just by handling it. But in this case, we ascertained that the couple and their pets had not been licked, scratched or bitten by the dog.”

The couple, who lives alone in a residence near the intersection of Flat Branch and Weeks roads in Ellijay, noticed the beagle on their property on Nov. 25 and saw that it exhibited signs of illness, including lethargy and the inability to walk. They tried to tend to the animal but were concerned it could be rabies-infected, so they contacted the local veterinarian hospital.

The dog was prepared for rabies testing and the specimen was sent to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory on Nov. 29. The positive test result was reported to local officials on Dec. 1.

Martin urges anyone living near the intersection of Flat Branch and Weeks Roads, who think it is possible that they or their children could have been exposed to the beagle at any time since Nov.11, to call either the Gilmer County Environmental Health office at 706-635-6050 or the Georgia Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for a free rabies exposure consultation.

Anyone who may have lost the beagle should contact officials immediately to be evaluated for possible rabies exposure.

If there are pets in the area that have never been vaccinated or are not currently vaccinated against rabies, they should be vaccinated or given a booster vaccination right away.

“Rabies is nearly 100 percent fatal in humans,” warned Martin. “Once rabies symptoms are present, it is too late to treat the human victim for rabies. If, however, exposure is known, then rabies post-exposure vaccinations are given to prevent the onset of rabies, saving the person’s life.”

Public Health Release Confirms Rabies in Gilmer County

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Georgia Department of Public Health

ELLIJAY, Ga – An official release from the Georgia Depart of Public Health and its District 1- 2 office has confirmed a case of rabies in Gilmer County.

Specifically, a stray beagle, tested by health officials, tested positive for the virus. Although the beagle was found in the area of Flat Branch and Weeks Road, officials are warning everyone in the county to be wary of stray animals.

Additionally, they are encouraging any in the area who think they or their family have been exposed to the beagle, to call either the Gilmer County Environmental Health office at (706) 635-6050 or the Georgia Poison Control Center at 1 (800) 222-1222 for a free rabies exposure consultation.

The full release given by the department is as follows:

A Gilmer County couple learned today that a stray beagle that had been near their home tested positive for rabies; however, county environmental health officials determined neither the couple nor their pets had been exposed to the virus the dog carried.

“We’re constantly reminding the public to avoid contact with both stray and wild animals,” said Andrea Martin, Gilmer County Environmental Health Manager. “If you don’t know the rabies vaccination status of an animal, you’re putting yourself at risk just by handling it. But in this case, we ascertained that the couple and their pets had not been licked, scratched or bitten by the dog.”

The couple, who lives alone in a residence near the intersection of Flat Branch and Weeks Roads in Ellijay, noticed the beagle on their property on November 25and saw that it exhibited signs of illness, including lethargy and the inability to walk. They tried to tend to the animal but were concerned it could be rabies-infected, so they contacted the local veterinarian hospital.

The dog was prepared for rabies testing and the specimen was sent to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory on November 29. The positive test result was reported to local officials on December 1.

Martin urges anyone living near the intersection of Flat Branch and Weeks Roads, who think it is possible that they or their children could have been exposed to the beagle at any time since November 11, to call either the Gilmer County Environmental Health office at (706) 635-6050 or the Georgia Poison Control Center at 1 (800) 222-1222 for a free rabies exposure consultation.

Anyone who may have lost the beagle should contact officials immediately to be evaluated for possible rabies exposure.

If there are pets in the area that have never been vaccinated or are not currently vaccinated against rabies, they should be vaccinated or given a booster vaccination right away.

“Rabies is nearly 100% fatal in humans,” warned Martin. “Once rabies symptoms are present, it is too late to treat the human victim for rabies. If, however, exposure is known, then rabies post-exposure vaccinations are given to prevent the onset of rabies, saving the person’s life.”

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“Sickly” raccoon in Ellijay tests positive for rabies

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Ellijay (GA) – A raccoon that was recently found in a residential area of Ellijay in Gilmer County, Georgia has now tested positive for rabies.

The raccoon was out during the daytime on May 9 and appeared to be sickly as it wandered in the campground area of Coosawattee River Resort, a gated community in Ellijay. A resident, concerned about the danger the raccoon might have posed to people and pets in the neighborhood, shot the animal so it could be tested for rabies.

The raccoon was tested by the Georgia Department of Public Health Laboratory on May 10 and the positive results were reported on May 11.

There was no known human or domestic animal exposure to the raccoon.

Health officials are continuing to remind the public to avoid all wild animals and pet owners should maintain rabies vaccinations in their pets. If a pet receives an initial one-year vaccine, it can receive a three-year rabies vaccination on the following year.

Rabies is prevalent in wild animals such as raccoons and skunks but can be found in coyotes, foxes, bats, bobcats and other wild carnivores. Rodents and opossums are rarely found with rabies, but a bite from any wild mammal should cause concern and be reported to a healthcare provider and the local environmental health office.

Children should be warned to avoid contact with wild mammals and any stray dog or cat and to report any contact with these animals to an adult right away.

For more information about rabies and its prevention, log onto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at CDC Gov Rabies .

 

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Gilmer County dog attacked by rabid raccoon

Press Release

Gilmer County dog attacked by rabid raccoon

East Ellijay (GA) – A raccoon attacked a Gilmer County dog on March 9, 2017 and test results have now confirmed the raccoon was infected with rabies.

The raccoon came into a residential yard off Walnut Street near East Ellijay City Hall, close to Georgia Highway 515 North. After attacking the dog that lived on the premises, the raccoon was killed and the head was submitted to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory, which reported the positive rabies results on March 14.

There were no other animal or human exposures to the raccoon.

Since the dog had been previously vaccinated against rabies, it was revaccinated and placed in a 45-day home observation period during which the owner must report any illness to the Gilmer County Environmental Health Office.

Rabies is caused by a virus and is transmitted by a bite of a rabid animal through its saliva. Humans who are exposed to rabies must receive preventive treatments within a short period of time. Once rabies symptoms start to develop, the disease is almost always fatal. Humans normally start to develop symptoms in one to three months after exposure, but this incubation period can be shorter or longer.

Pet owners are strongly advised to keep their dogs and cats up to date on their rabies vaccinations. If a pet receives an initial one-year vaccine, it can receive a three-year rabies vaccination on the following year.

Rabies is prevalent in wild animals such as raccoons and skunks but can be found in coyotes, foxes, bats, bobcats and other wild carnivores. Rodents and opossums are rarely found with rabies, but a bite from any wild mammal should cause concern and be reported to your physician and local environmental health office.

Most humans who die of rabies in the United States acquired it from rabid bats. If you find a bat inside your home, do not handle it or release it to the outdoors; the bat will need to be tested for rabies if there is any chance of human contact. People are sometimes bitten in their sleep by rabid bats without knowing it.

 

All livestock species are susceptible to rabies including llamas and alpacas. Last year, a cow in an adjacent county was found to have rabies. Livestock animals that have regular close contact with humans or are very valuable, such as horses and show cows, should be vaccinated against rabies each year. Livestock owners are advised to consider rabies when an unknown illness occurs in an animal with possible neurological symptoms. Always have such animals examined by your veterinarian. Livestock animals usually acquire rabies from wild carnivores such as raccoons, bats and skunks.

Warn your children to avoid contact with wild mammals and any stray dog or cat and to report any contact with these animals to you right away.

For more information about rabies and its prevention, log onto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/.

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