RANDOLPH Co., Ala. (WBRC) – Randolph County’s health authorities urge caution after a family was exposed to a rabid dog in Wadley last week.
The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) issued a reminder about the risk of rabies in pets. The animal was tested by ADPH following examination by a local veterinarian and sample preparation by the State Veterinary Diagnostic Lab of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries in Auburn.
Health officials said the dog was recently accepted into the family as a stray and had no history of rabies vaccination.
ADPH examines any possible exposure of the animal to educate individuals on the correct treatment to prevent possible transmission to humans.
Dr. State Public Health Veterinarian Dee W. Jones reminds the public that it is important that people know that rabies still exists in Alabama. He says, “The nature of the risks of human rabies exposure has decreased dramatically over the past 60 years, but since the virus is still common in raccoons, the risk is still relevant.”
According to Dr. Jones, it is very likely that the dog was infected with a strain of raccoon rabies, although identification is pending.
Alabama is currently one of 17 other eastern and southeastern states participating in federal efforts to reduce rabies in raccoons through the use of an oral rabies vaccine (ORV). The program is now running in several counties.
Vaccination of pets against rabies is mandatory in Alabama.
“If the success of the ORV program could build on the success we have seen in vaccinating pets over the past 60-65 years, it would greatly benefit human and animal health.”
In addition to vaccination, residents of the area are advised to take the following precautions to avoid possible exposure to rabies:
- Do not let pets roam free; cage them in a fenced area or on a leash.
- Do not leave uneaten animal feed or scraps near where you live.
- Do not illegally feed or keep wild animals as pets.
- Avoid going near wildlife or pets that are acting strange or abnormally.
- Warn children not to approach stray or wild animals, regardless of their behavior.
- Instruct children to notify an adult if they are bitten or scratched by an animal.
A person bitten or scratched by an animal should immediately wash wounds with mild soap and water, provide first aid and seek medical attention, or contact the county health department immediately. For more information on rabies and prevention, please contact ADPH at (334) 206-5969 or (334) 206-5100 or visit https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/rabies.html
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