The Greenbrier County Health Department would like to make the public aware that the county is in the midst of a rabies outbreak. In 2023, raccoons and bats were reported to be positive in various areas of the county. In 2024, we have had two stray cats test positive. All areas of the county are considered to be affected. All residents should exercise extreme caution regarding both wildlife and stray animals. Early signs and symptoms of rabies include animals appearing disoriented and wandering aimlessly, wildlife appearing during the day, animals typically skittish of humans showing no fear of humans. Later symptoms include foaming at the mouth and extreme aggression. People should avoid any contact with an animal that is acting uncharacteristically and contact local authorities to dispose of the animal. To reduce the risk of being exposed to rabies:
- Keep garbage in a secured/tightly lidded trashcan.
- Feed pets indoors or remove food from bowls after feeding outdoor pets.
- Teach children not to approach any animal at large.
- Vaccinate pets (dogs, cats, and ferrets) against rabies. WV State Code requires all dog and cat owners to maintain a current rabies vaccination on their pets. Fines may be levied against owners who fail to do so.
- Contact your local health department at 304-645-1539 if you see a suspect animal or if you have been bitten or scratched by an animal at large.