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Third case of rabies in a month

A third confirmed case of rabies in Pike was announced by county environmental health manager Ben Trotter Wednesday, April 1. All three cases of rabies involved raccoons who were seen during daylight hours and had no fear of people or other animals. Two of the confirmed cases – including the most recent one in the Pedenville area – were in the Concord area with the third in northern Pike County near the Lamar County line. ’Raccoons are carriers of the disease and we always caution people to stay away from them, especially if they are seen during daylight hours,’ said Trotter. ‘Normally, raccoons aren’t active during the day and generally as a rule, if anyone sees a raccoon during the daytime, it is most likely rabid. A lot of people think raccoons are cute and they may want to watch or play with them but that’s not a good idea at all.’ Rabies is spread when a person or animal comes in contact with the saliva, brain or spinal fluid of another rabid animal and it gets into their bloodstream through an open wound. A raccoon was seen walking strangely Saturday, March 28 at a residence off Friendship Circle and showed no fear of humans when a man shot and killed the raccoon. ’He was trying to kill the raccoon and in the course of the events, he got a laceration on his hand and feels like he could have been exposed but he wasn’t certain he had any contact with the animal’s saliva,’ said Trotter. ‘He has already started the series of rabies shots and he said he will continue to take them – even though he wasn’t sure if he was exposed directly – to err on the side of caution.’ Trotter and animal control officer David Allen said residents of Pike need to make sure their pets get the rabies vaccine each year. ’There is at least a 10-day quarantine if the pets already have the rabies vaccine, but animals would have to be isolated in a cage or fenced area for six months to check for physical or behavioral changes if they were not vaccinated,’ said Allen. ’Pet owners need to get their animals vaccinated as soon as possible. Veterinarians make the vaccine as low cost as they can and there are periodic clinics offered in the county as well. If a pet owner can’t afford a rabies shot, they really can’t afford to have a pet because it’s very important.’ Allen encouraged anyone who sees a raccoon acting strangely and is able to kill it to leave the animal where it is and contact the county’s animal control agents to handle it from there to reduce the risk of exposure. For possible rabies cases, citizens may call Trotter at 770-567-8972 or Allen at 770-567-2007. If a case is reported on the weekend, citizens may go to, click on the Departments and Authorities and then Animal Control tabs to find a cell phone number to call. The other two recent Pike County cases of confirmed rabies involved dogs who either attacked or were attacked by a rabid raccoon. There have been four separate confirmed cases of rabies from January 2013 through the present. The Georgia House recently passed House Bill 160 which will repeal a provision prohibiting the trapping of raccoons. The bill was approved by the Georgia Senate March 25, lifting a 35-year ban on trapping raccoons and would allow for trappers to use steel traps to catch them. The bill must be signed by the governor before it becomes law.

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