Isle of Wight reports three rabies cases

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 29, 2008

ISLE OF WIGHT-The Isle of Wight County Health Department confirmed that three wild animals, each in a different area of the county, had tested positive for rabies in recent days.

Spokesman Jay Duell said two raccoons and a skunk had been found dead and were immediately tested. All were found at residents’ homes around family dogs.

Two of the cases were reported on April 17.

The first was a dead raccoon found at a home on Smith Neck Road, he said.

The next case also involved a raccoon, which was found at a residence on Antioch Road near a dog that was chained. Dogs in both of these cases had current rabies shots and after booster shots will be under strict observation for 45 days.

The skunk was found at a residence just off Burrwell’s Bay Road on April 18. Duell said these dogs’ vaccinations were not current and the owner decided to have the dogs euthanized rather than put them under strict isolation for six months.

Duell said he did not know the reason for the outbreak, unless the warmer weather made the animals venture away from the woods.

Dr.Lisa McCoy, medical director for the Western Tidewater Health District, said rabies is a serious problem, which can be transmitted to humans, but is highly preventable if a vaccine is given to domestic animals early.

She strongly recommends that residents take the following precautions:

• If your animal has been in contact with an animal that might be rabid, contact the IOW Health Department at 357-9326 or IOW Animal Control at 365-6318.

• Seek medical treatment promptly for any animal bite.

• Do not approach any wild or stray animal, especially raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, cats or dogs.

• Ensure that all pet dogs, cats and ferrets have current rabies shots. State law requires that all dogs and cats over four months be vaccinated against rabies.

• Confine your pets to your property and securely seal garbage containers with lids.