Third rabies case reported in New Hanover County

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Animal control authorities say the third confirmed case of rabies for 2010 in New Hanover County occurred when a pet dog fought with a raccoon at a Middle Sound Loop Road residence.

The incident occurred Sunday and test results returned Tuesday from the state lab confirm the wild animal was rabid. The dog was current on its rabies vaccination and was re-boostered in accordance with health recommendations.

Animals that have a current rabies vaccination at the time of exposure should be re-boostered within five days (new Centers for Disease Control guidelines) of exposure. The CDC recommends unvaccinated pets be destroyed. 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.

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. People should stay away from any animal that you have not been cleared to hold or pet, including owned dogs or cats, and especially wildlife.

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