WJBF News Channel 6 has learned, a 4th raccoon has tested postivie for rabies in Columbia County.
We are told, on on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 24th, a man living in the Rockdale Road area of Martinez confronted a raccoon in his backyard. The raccoon displayed aggression and the man reportedly shot it.
The raccoon was shipped to the lab on July 29th for testing and a positive confirmation was received by the Columbia County Health Department on Wednesday, July 31st.
Officials say the raccoon had no direct contact with domestic animals or the man who shot it, and they ask that residents make sure that their pets are vaccinated for 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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