Ninth rabies case reported in Isle of Wight

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 29, 2007

FRANKLIN—Another case of rabies has been reported in Isle of Wight County, bringing this year’s total to nine.

According to Environmental Health Supervisor Jay Duell of the Isle of Wight County Health Department, a raccoon attacked a Jack Russell terrier in the neighborhood of Bowling Green Road. The dog was in its owner’s yard at the time of the incident.

&uot;The raccoon was killed and sent to the lab for testing,&uot; Duell said. &uot;The dog had already been vaccinated.&uot;

Still, the terrier has received a booster shot and will be kept under observation for a 45-day period to make sure it doesn’t develop symptoms of the disease, which affects the central nervous system of mammals. Transmission of the disease happens when the saliva of an infected animal comes in contact with a mucous membrane or open wound of another animal, for example, an animal bite.

A vaccine can prevent the disease.

&uot;Unfortunately, without preventative treatment, by the time someone develops symptoms of rabies, there is no cure and the disease is fatal in almost 100 percent of the cases,&uot; said Dr. Lisa McCoy, health director for the Western Tidewater Health District. It is also fatal in infected domestic dogs and cats that have not been vaccinated.

According to Duell, this year is not much different than the last couple of years regarding the number of rabies cases.

&uot;We usually range (anywhere from) eight to 12,&uot; he said.

He agreed to some extent, more cases seem to be arising because of human encroachment on habitat.

&uot;I’m sure that is part of the reason,&uot; he said. &uot;But we know we have rabies in the area. We only find out about rabid cases if the (diseased animal) comes in contact with a domestic animal or a person.&uot;

Duell said that the department keeps the public informed of ways to protect themselves and their pets.

n If a pet has come in contact with an animal that may be rabid, contact the Isle of Wight County Animal Control office, 365-6318, or the Isle of Wight County Health Department, 357-9326.

n Seek medical treatment immediately for any animal bite to ensure appropriate and timely evaluation and treatment.

n Do not approach wild or stray animals, especially raccoons, bats, foxe, skunks, cats and dogs.

n Ensure all pet dogs, cats and ferrets have current rabies vaccinations.

n Confine your pets to your property.

n Securely seal garbage containers with lids and don’t leave food outside that could attract wildlife.

State law requires that all dogs and cats more than 4 months old be vaccinated against rabies.

For more information, contact the Isle of Wight Health Department. Information is also posted on the county’s cable station. By visiting or