Pitt County’s Public Health Department has recently received reports of wild animals exhibiting unusual behavior within the County. Pitt County’s Health Director, John H. Morrow, MD advises people to use caution when encountering a wild animal due to the risk of contracting rabies.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal like raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes. Rabies infects the central nervous system causing disease in the brain and death.
Individuals should be careful not to approach wild animals and to also keep their pets away from wild animals. This includes the touching of dead animals because the rabies virus can also be transmitted after death through contact with the animal’s saliva and brain tissue.
“It is very important that pet owners keep their pets’ rabies vaccinations up to date,” says Pitt County Animal Control’s Director, Michele Whaley. Licensed veterinarians provide rabies vaccinations and Pitt County Animal Control holds a couple of low cost rabies vaccination clinics every year usually in the spring and the fall.
The State Laboratory of Public Health reports that in 2015, one case of animal rabies was confirmed in Pitt County and 339 cases were confirmed in NC. The majority of these cases were among raccoons.
For more information about rabies in NC, visit the NC Department of Health and Human Services / NC Public Health Epidemiology website at: http://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/cd/diseases/rabies.html or contact Pitt County Health Department at 252-902-2426 or Pitt County Animal Control at 252-902-1729