The second case of rabid raccoons in South Bryan around Fort McAllister was recently reported, but officials say there is no cause for alarm.
The most recent incident was June 30, when South Bryan resident Dick Kent killed a rabid raccoon in his yard near Fort McAllister.
“I looked out — and I have four dogs — and there was a lot of commotion going on. As I looked more closely, three of my dogs were biting on this furry thing,” he said. “They’d pretty well chopped up a small raccoon.”
Kent said he used a shovel to kill the raccoon, which was severely injured by the time he got to it, he said.
After making several phone calls, Kent said he put the raccoon on ice until Bryan County Animal Control could pick it up to test the animal.
County Environmental Health Specialist Skip Youmans said while reports of rabid raccoons or animals is always a concern, he believes these two cases don’t constitute an “outbreak.”
“Raccoons are carriers (of rabies) so I would say (the incidents) are not anything to be extremely alarmed about as far as an outbreak of rabies,” Youmans said. “We’re in South Georgia and ‘coons are carriers of rabies.”
Youmans said the No. 1 precaution residents can take in protecting their pets is to get the vaccinated.
“Stay away from them (the infected animal) and make sure all animals are vaccinated because if a rabid ‘coon gets your animal, there are serious consequences, which includes up to a six-month quarantine,” he said.
Kent said although his dogs were all up-to-date on their vaccines, he will continue to monitor them to be sure they don’t develop any symptoms.
This isn’t the first time Kent has seen a rabid raccoon in his yard. He said he tells others to keep an eye out for their pets and make sure all vaccines are up-to-date. He also said to use caution.
“I would tell anyone to stay away from where they can put a bite on you,” Kent said.
The first reported case of rabies came from the same area of South Bryan in early June. According to a press release from the Coastal Health District, a rabid raccoon got into an altercation with a family’s dog. The dog had been vaccinated against rabies, and has been monitored since the incident.
Youmans said rabies attacks the brain, which can cause abnormal behavior, aggressive behavior, paralysis or dragging of the rear legs.
“(Raccoons) are nocturnal so if you see them during the day, that’s also a sign to stay away,” Youmans said. “That doesn’t mean it’s infected, but if it’s just wandering around during the day, that’s not normal behavior.”
Rabies can also affect humans. According to the Centers for Disease Control website, humans infected with rabies may experience symptoms similar to other illnesses including fever, headache and general weakness.
The CDC website also states the disease can cause symptoms like cerebral dysfunction, anxiety, confusion and agitation.
Any person who has been bitten by an animal suspected to have rabies should wash the wound immediately with soap and water and see a doctor.
Youmans said all cases of suspected rabies should be reported to Bryan County Animal Control at 653-3816. Animal Control will work with the Bryan County Health Department to investigate possible cases.