Rabies case reported in Ellijay; vaccines urged

Rabies case reported in Ellijay; vaccines urged

October 20th, 2012 by Staff Report in Local Regional News

Rabies tile

Rabies tile

Photo by WRCB-TV Channel 3 /Times Free Press.

When a rabid raccoon attacked one Gilmer County woman's pet Chihuahua, she fought back -- and now her dog is in a six-month quarantine and she's being treated for rabies.

The woman, who has not been identified, fought the raccoon at her home on John Call Road in Ellijay, Ga., on Oct. 9.

"The owner intervened in the attack and came in contact with the raccoon's saliva through a skin abrasion on her hand," Gilmer Count Environmental Manager Andrea Martin said. "Since then, the raccoon has tested positive for rabies, so the owner of the dog is receiving post-exposure rabies treatment."

The Chihuahua's rabies vaccination was not up to date when the attack happened, so the dog has been put into quarantine for six months, Martin said.

Untreated rabies is fatal nearly 100 percent of the time.

Martin hopes the incident will encourage other pet owners to keep their animals' vaccinations up to date.

"If our pets are not properly vaccinated and are exposed to rabies, then we are next in line for exposure," she said.

She also said owners should try to avoid contact with wild or unfamiliar animals.

For more information on rabies, contact the Gilmer County Environmental Health at 706-635-6050.