Columbia County Emergency Management Agency director Pam Tucker tells WJBF News Channel 6, a third raccoon has tested positive for rabies in Columbia County.
The first positive test was back in April, and there was one last week. All of the cases have occurred in Harlem, and both dogs involved in the first two cases had to be euthanized because they were not current on rabies vaccinations.
This current incident occurred on July 19th, when two dogs killed a raccoon in the Macks Road area of Harlem. The raccoon was submitted for testing on July 22nd and the positive results where confirmed Wednesday. Tucker says, the good news is that both of the dogs involved in this current case were current on their rabies vaccinations. The dogs will receive a rabies booster shot and be under a 45-day quarantine.
Columbia County Public Health Officials are advising residents to make sure their animals are vaccinated against rabies.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes.
The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. The early symptoms of rabies in people are similar to that of many other illnesses, including fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort. As the disease progresses, more specific symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hypersalivation (increase in saliva), difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia (fear of water). Death usually occurs within days of the onset of these symptoms.
What are the signs and symptoms of rabies?
According to the CDC:
The first symptoms of rabies may be very similar to those of the flu including general weakness or discomfort, fever, or headache. These symptoms may last for days.
There may be also discomfort or a prickling or itching sensation at the site of bite, progressing within days to symptoms of cerebral dysfunction, anxiety, confusion, agitation. As the disease progresses, the person may experience delirium, abnormal behavior, hallucinations, and insomnia.
The acute period of disease typically ends after 2 to 10 days. Once clinical signs of rabies appear, the disease is nearly always fatal, and treatment is typically supportive.
Disease prevention includes administration of both passive antibody, through an injection of human immune globulin and a round of injections with rabies vaccine.
Once a person begins to exhibit signs of the disease, survival is rare. To date less than 10 documented cases of human survival from clinical rabies have been reported and only two have not had a history of pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis.
For more information about rabies from the CDC, click here.
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