ADPH: Rabid coyote found near Carolina

Published 12:22 am Saturday, October 4, 2014

A rabid coyote was found in the Carolina community this week, ADPH officials announced Friday.

The coyote has prompted health officials to issue precautions about rabies prevention in humans and animals.

This is the second positively confirmed case of rabies this year, and the fourth case since 2013.

A cat tested positive in Andalusia in April, and two raccoons tested positive in 2013.

“Rabies in wildlife is not really anything new to this area; however, the biggest challenge for rabies control continues to be keeping it out of the domestic animal population,” State Health Veterinarian Dr. Dee W. Jones said. “It is important to note that the positive samples tested only represent those that exposed a person or an animal, which is a fraction of the total positive animals in the wild.”

Jones said that infected wildlife shed the virus in their salvia, and can infect pets through bites and scratches.

“An infected pet becomes extremely dangerous for owners, family member sand other animals that come into contact with it,” Jones said.

ADPH tests animals that have bitten or scratched people or their pets.

Each year, some 50 samples test positive, with raccoons and bats accounting for the majority.

Rabies is always considered to be fatal in animals, but vaccines help combat that.

State law requires that all ferrets, dogs and cats keep a current rabies vaccination.

Horses and other livestock may also receive the vaccine.

ADPH recommends the following to avoid possible exposure to rabies:

• Don’t go near domestic animals that are acting in a strange or unusual manner;

• Instruct children not to go near any non-domesticated animal regardless of its behavior;

• Advise children to tell an adult if they are bitten or scratched by an animal; and

• Never touch a bat, and contact the county health department if you suspect a bat has been in contact with sleeping adults, unattended children or pets.