Orange County reports first positive rabies test of 2013

Jan. 19, 2013 @ 07:21 PM

The Orange County Animal Services Department receives its first positive rabies result of the year from the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health. Last year, the county recorded 12 positive cases.

Unlike the majority of rabies cases seen by the county, a goat tested positive in this case. The report originated earlier in the week when a resident in the vicinity of Brookhollow Road and Bane Road in Efland noticed strange behavior from one of his two pet goats. The goat owner called his veterinarian and a decision was made to euthanize the animal and send it to the state laboratory for testing. Results of the positive test were received on Wednesday. The information was shared with Animal Services and the Department of Agriculture, which has jurisdiction over livestock matters throughout the state.

A communicable disease nurse from the Orange County Health Department has been in contact with the goat owner to discuss post-exposure prophylaxis that protects people from rabies. They are also seeking to contact others who could have had contact with the rabid goat over the last few weeks. While it is less likely that animals in the goat family would bite and spread the disease as easily as carnivorous species, residents or visitors to the Efland area who may have been in physical contact with this goat should still see their doctor or contact Cathy York, a communicable disease nurse with Orange County’s Health Department to have an assessment. She can be reached at (919) 245-2343.

The deceased goat was of the Lamancha breed and is described as a black and white female. A second goat has been seen by a Department of Agriculture Veterinarian and has been placed on a six-month quarantine for observation. 

The first low-cost rabies vaccination clinic offered by Orange County Animal Services is on Saturday, Jan. 26. The clinic will be open from 9 a.m. to noon at the Animal Services Center, 1601 Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill. 

For more information, please visit www.co.orange.nc.us/animalservices or call (919) 942-PETS (7387).

It is a law in North Carolina that dogs, cats and ferrets older than four months must have a current and valid rabies vaccination at all times. Orange County’s ordinance also requires that all pets wear a rabies vaccination tag

Pets with current rabies vaccinations that may have been exposed to rabies must be revaccinated within five days (120 hours) or they will be treated as unvaccinated pets.

Unvaccinated pets that may have been exposed to rabies must either be destroyed or quarantined at a veterinary office for six months at the owner’s expense

Rabies can be transmitted through secondary exposure as well, so do not touch animals without gloves if it has had any possible exposure to rabies.

If a rabies suspect is alive, do not attempt to capture the animal.  Keep visual contact with the animal until Animal Control arrives. 

If you discover a bat inside your house, be sure not to release it, but do remove yourself and any animals from the area. Always call Animal Control immediately if you find a bat in your home even if there is no evidence of a bite.