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6th rabies case reported in New Hanover County

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The State Lab says a raccoon found in Carolina Beach Sunday tested positive for rabies. It's the sixth positive rabies test in New Hanover County so far this year.

New Hanover County Animal Services picked up the raccoon that had possibly fought with a dog on S. 4th Street in Carolina Beach. The dog was handled afterwards by their owner, which resulted in potential exposure for that person. The dog did have a current rabies vaccination. The raccoon was euthanized and sent for testing.

The victim was notified of the positive results and ASU staff verified that the dog was given a rabies booster vaccine. ASU will canvass the area to educate the public about the importance of their pets having a current rabies vaccine.

Animals that have a current rabies vaccination at the time of exposure should be re-boostered within five days (2009 Centers for Disease Control guidelines) of exposure. Recommendation is to euthanize exposed animals that are not current with their rabies vaccination. There are three primary routes of transmission of the rabies virus, which is carried in the saliva of the infected animal: 1) the primary route of transmission is through a bite which breaks the skin of the victim, 2) salivary contact to an open, fresh wound, or, 3) salivary contact to the mucous membranes of a potential victim.

Please maintain a current rabies vaccination for your pet; this is the primary defense against the spread of this fatal disease.

When dealing with primary rabies vectors (raccoons, foxes, skunks, and bats) or unknown animals, such as wildlife, it is recommended that the animal be handled with protective gloves to prevent viral transmission. Personal pets should not be handled without protection directly after being exposed to wildlife, due to the potential for carrying residual saliva from the infected animal. You should stay away from any animal that you have not been cleared to hold or pet, including owned dogs or cats, and especially wildlife. Feeding wildlife is ill advised. Prevention is better than reaction after the fact of exposure.

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