As we are beginning a new year we want to remind people about the dangers of rabies and what they can do to protect themselves and their pets. According to the Centers for Disease Control, rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals that infects the central nervous system and usually results in death.
The symptoms of rabies can vary. Not all will show aggression. Signs and symptoms include lethargy, fever, vomiting, weakness, paralysis, seizures and aggression.
There are steps that you can take to protect yourself and your pets from rabies.
• Vaccinate your pets and keep records of their vaccinations.
• Keep a watch on outdoor pets as much as possible.
• Do not pick up or pet animals that are behaving abnormally.
• Do not attempt to capture animals behaving abnormally.
• Do not keep wild animals as pets.
Be sure to teach your children animal safety as well. Teach them not to approach wild animals and to ask a pet owner if it’s okay before approaching an unfamiliar pet.
In 2013 30 animals were tested for rabies from Greenbrier County. Of that 30, four tested positive for rabies. Another three were not testable or non-diagnostic and were treated as if they had been positive. We have already had our first positive animal tested in 2014, a skunk from the Stonehouse Road area.
Animal bites and rabies are considered a Category 2 reportable disease and condition according to the West Virginia Legislative Rules. This requires notification of the condition or disease to the county health department within 24 hours.
For more information contact Stacy King or Will Knowlton at 304-645-1539.