By Terry Harris
A greyish brown and black North American raccoon tested positive last week for rabies in Surry County after biting a dog near New Design Road in an unprovoked attack, according to representatives from the Crater Health District of the Virginia Department of Health.
“Please notify public health officials or animal control immediately if you live near New Design Road and think that you or your pet(s) had contact with the infected raccoon,” was the advice of Crater Health District Director Alton Hart, Jr., MD, MPH.
“Make sure your pets are vaccinated, especially against rabies,” he added.
“Rabies is a preventable disease,” said Toinette Waldon, Environmental Health Manager, Crater Health District. “We encourage all pet owners to vaccinate their animals to protect them and the community.”
The following advice was issued from The Health Department to prevent families and pets from being exposed to rabies:
• Vaccinate all cats, dogs and ferrets against rabies and keep them up to date.
• Avoid contact with wild animals or stray cats and dogs.
• Do not feed wild animals or stray cats and dogs.
• Report stray animals to your local animal control agency.
• Eliminate outdoor food sources around the home.
• Keep pets confined to your property or walk them on a leash.
In order to report a stray and/or suspicious animal citizens are urged to contact Surry Animal Control at 757-294-0158, or for emergencies call 757-294-5264. For concerns about exposure to rabies citizens are urged to immediately contact your healthcare provider.
For further information on protecting your family from rabies, call 804-863-1652 or visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/environmental-epidemiology/rabies-control/ or www.cdc.gov/rabies/.