Orange County

Orange County reports year’s fifth positive rabies test

Orange County Animal Services has received its fifth positive rabies test result of the year, according to the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health. This incident involved a bat. The county recorded a total of six positive cases last year and 10 the year before.

The case originated on Saturday, April 29, when Chapel Hill residents found their cat playing with a dead bat inside the house. The residents bagged the bat. On Monday, they visited their veterinarian and called Animal Control to remove the dead bat from the house for testing.

Because the cat had a current vaccination, she was able to receive a booster rabies vaccination within the required window. When there is “a reasonable suspicion of exposure,” a dog, cat, or ferret with a valid vaccination history must receive a booster shot within 96 hours (4 days). By contrast, an unvaccinated animal must either be destroyed or quarantined for a period up to four (4) months.

A Communicable Disease Nurse from the Orange County Health Department has contacted the residents to evaluate their risk of rabies exposure and whether there is a need for the post-exposure prophylaxis that protects people from rabies. As is always the case, a decision about the post-exposure prophylaxis that protects people from rabies is based upon an assessment of all the factors involved in this type situation.

Of the few cases of rabies in humans in the United States in recent years, most have been traced to bats. Because bat bites can be undetectable to the human eye, it is critical that a bat inside an occupied dwelling be safely contained without human contact and that citizens immediately contact their animal control program if there is any possibility of exposure. If an incident involving a bat — or other rabies vector — should occur outside regular office hours, an Animal Control Officer can be reached by calling 9-1-1.

The other dominant host species in our area is the raccoon. Other animals can contract rabies a host species, a process known as the “spillover effect.” The other species that are most susceptible to getting rabies from raccoons are dogs and cats, groundhogs, foxes and skunks.

Vaccination clinic scheduled

The next low-cost rabies vaccination clinic will take place:

▪  Thursday, May 11, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Eno River Farmers Market, 144 E Margaret Lane in Hillsborough.

The cost for rabies vaccinations is $10 and both 1-year and 3-year vaccines will be offered at this cash-only clinic. For a 3-year vaccination, please bring proof of a previous vaccine. Microchips also offered for $25. Clinic dates for the rest of 2017 are posted at

For more information, please call Orange County Animal Services at 919-942-7387.

Did you know?

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 dogs wear a rabies vaccination tag.

▪  Pets with current rabies vaccinations that may have been exposed to rabies must be revaccinated within four days (96 hours) or they will be treated as unvaccinated pets.

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

▪  If a suspected rabies carrier 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.