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Rabies confirmed in Sussex County Raccon

Posted: Jan 13, 2018 12:24 PM
By WRDE


(Dover, Del) - The Delaware Division of Public Health has confirmed a Raccoon that bite a person in Sussex County did have rabies. The Division is warning residents in the area surrounding Angola Crest II to avoid wild animals, and make sure their pets have been vaccinated.
The raccoon was captured and brought to the DPH Lab, where test results confirming it had rabies came back on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. The victim was bitten after the raccoon entered the person's home through a pet door. The individual has begun treatment for the bite. In addition, animals in the home, which were all up to date on rabies vaccinations, are currently under quarantine following potential exposure.
Anyone in this area who thinks they might have been bitten, scratched or come in contact with a raccoon should immediately contact their health care provider or call the DPH Rabies Program at 302-744-4995. An epidemiologist is available 24/7. Also anyone who thinks their pet may have been bitten by this raccoon should call their private veterinarian or the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) at 302-698-4630.
Rabies Prevention Tips:

· Avoid wild and feral animals, regardless of whether or not the animal seems "friendly." Not all rabid animals exhibit the classic signs of the rabies illness, such as aggression, depression or other abnormal behavior.
· Ensure your pets are up to date with rabies shots.
· Keep pets indoors or, while outside, supervise them on a leash.

Since Jan. 1, 2018, DPH has performed rabies tests on four animals; this is the first positive case for 2018. In 2017, DPH performed rabies tests on 143 animals, 16 of which were confirmed to be rabid, including five raccoons, six cats, two dogs, two bats and one fox. Six of the positive rabies cases involved a bite to humans. DPH only announces those rabies cases in which it is possible the animal had unknown contacts with humans and there is a risk of exposure to the community.
Rabies in humans and animals cannot be cured once symptoms appear. If the animal is of unknown origin, or unavailable to be quarantined or tested, the Division of Public Health recommends that people receive post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment, a series of four vaccinations, as a precautionary measure.
Rabies is an infectious disease affecting the nervous system of humans and other mammals. Infection can occur through the bite or scratch of an infected animal or if saliva from such an animal gets into the eyes, nose, mouth or an opening in the skin.
Fortunately, rabies is also almost 100 percent preventable. DPH recommends that members of the public take the necessary steps to stay clear of exposure to rabies. Rabies prevention starts with the animal owner. Vaccination of pets and livestock is a crucial factor in rabies prevention.
• All dogs, cats and ferrets 6 months of age and older are required by Delaware law to be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Consider vaccinating livestock and horses. It is recommended to consult with your private veterinarian if you have any questions regarding whether your animal(s) should be rabies vaccinated.
• Pet owners can reduce the possibility of pets being exposed to rabies by not letting them roam free.
• Spaying or neutering your pet may reduce the tendency to roam or fight and thus reduce the chance they will be exposed to rabies.
• Do not keep your pet's food or water outdoors; bowls can attract wild and stray animals.
• Keep your garbage securely covered.
• Do not handle unfamiliar animals, including cats and dogs, even if they appear friendly.

For more information on the Delaware Division of Public Health's rabies program, visit: http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/dpc/rabies.html or call 1-866-972-9705 or 302-744-4995. For more information on rabies, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/.