FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. (WSET) — On Friday, the West Piedmont Health District announced that two skunks have tested positive for rabies in the Glade Hill area within the past two weeks.
On October 13, a skunk testing positive for rabies was found in the vicinity of Old Franklin Turnpike and Brooks Mill Road. Then, on Tuesday, another skunk testing positive for rabies was found in a neighborhood around Crafts Church Road in Glade Hill. Due to the relative proximity and timing of these cases within Glade Hill/Union Hall, the West Piedmont Health District wants to remind everyone, and especially pet owners, of the risks of rabies.
Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. It is almost always fatal unless preventive treatment is administered before symptoms develop.
“Prevention is everything when you’re dealing with rabies,” said Dr. Kerry Gateley, director of the West Piedmont Health District. “We have to do everything we can to minimize exposures, from vaccinating pets to avoiding unnecessary human contact with unvaccinated animals. This includes not creating situations in which feral or wild animals might expose each other.”
Under Virginia law, it is mandatory for all dogs and cats aged four months and older to receive rabies vaccinations from a licensed veterinarian, and these vaccinations must be kept up to date.
Additional steps to protect against rabies exposure:
- Do not feed stray animals. Avoid wild animals, especially raccoons, bats, foxes and skunks. Feed your pets indoors and do not let them wander.
- Make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies and their shots are up to date. By law, all dogs, cats and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies.
- Teach children to avoid contact with wild animals and pets they are not familiar with.
- Do not handle sick, injured, or dead animals.
- Keep wild animals out of homes by capping chimneys with screens and blocking openings in attics, cellars and porches. Ensure trash cans have tight fitting lids.
- Do not try to trap or handle stray and wild animals.
- If bitten by a wild or stray animal, do not panic. Wash the wound(s) thoroughly with warm soapy water and contact animal control, a local medical provider or the Franklin County Health Department for further recommendations.
More information can be found here, or by calling the Franklin County Health Department at 540-484-0292. To report a rabies incident after hours, please contact Franklin County Animal Control at 540-483-3000.
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