Rabid raccoon found in Gwinnett County Park
The Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement Division and the Gwinnett County Health Department are advising residents to use caution after a rabid raccoon was contained Friday.
Park workers at Graves Park, located at 1540 Graves Road in Norcross, noticed a raccoon acting in a strange manner and were able to contain the animal until Animal Welfare and Enforcement responded to the scene. The animal tested positive for rabies.
The principle carriers of rabies are some insect-eating bats and wild carnivores, such as raccoons, skunks, foxes and coyotes. Twelve rabies cases were confirmed in Gwinnett County in 2017, seven in 2016, and four in 2015.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rabies virus attacks the central nervous system and is almost always fatal if untreated.
Early symptoms of rabies in people include fever, headache and general weakness or discomfort. If you have been bitten or scratched by an animal that is suspected to have rabies, preventative treatment is available. Please immediately seek medical care and contact the Gwinnett County Health Department at 770-339-4260.
If you or your child have been bitten or scratched by any stray animals, or if you know of anyone handling an animal possibly infected with rabies, the animal should be captured and tested. Please call the Gwinnett County Animal Welfare Bite Office at 770-339-3200 ext. 5576, or after hours, contact Dispatch non-emergency at 770-513-5700.
Rabid animals may act tame. They may also display strange or unusual behavior. They may act aggressive, avoid food and water, foam at the mouth, or have trouble moving or move in a stiff, odd way. Stay away from any unknown animals, especially wildlife. Report any animal acting unusual to Gwinnett Animal Welfare and Enforcement at 770-513-5700.
The following tips may help you protect yourself and your family from rabies:
· Make sure your pets get their rabies shots regularly.
· Keep your pets on your property.
· Do not leave garbage or pet food outside. Food left out may attract wild or stray animals.
· Stay away from wild, sick, hurt, or dead animals. Do not pick up or move sick or hurt animals. If you find a wild, sick, or hurt animal, call Gwinnett Animal Welfare at 770-513-5700 or 770-339-3200.
· Do not keep wild animals like raccoons, skunks, foxes, and coyotes as pets; it is dangerous and also illegal.
· Teach your children not to go near, tease, or play with wild animals or strange dogs and cats.
All pet owners should ensure that their pets are current on the rabies vaccination. According to the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, unvaccinated dogs and cats exposed to a rabid animal must be strictly quarantined for four months and vaccinated one month prior to being released.
In conjunction with World Rabies Day, Gwinnett Animal Welfare is partnering with Animal Alliance of Georgia, Canine Pet Rescue, Society of Humane Friends of Georgia and Live Healthy Gwinnett to offer free rabies vaccinations on Sept. 29 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Pinckneyville Park at 4758 S. Old Peachtree Road, Peachtree Corners.