Health officials have confirmed that seven people are receiving preventative treatment after coming in contact – directly or through their pets – with three raccoons that tested positive for rabies in separate incidents in the South Toe area. A dog involved in the first raccoon attack was not current on its rabies vaccination and had to be euthanized.
Rabies is preventable, but there is not cure once the symptoms appear. Residents are being warned to stay away from wild animals, especially if they are exhibiting unusual behavior. If your pet has been attacked by a wild animal or another domestic animal remember that you can be exposed to the virus if saliva from your pet comes in contact with an open cut, sore or scratch on your body.
If you see a wild animal acting strangely or sickly, do not handle, catch, or kill it, simply contact the Yancey County Health Department or call 911. If you must kill the animal, do not shoot in the head so it can be tested for the virus.
At the request of the health department, Yancey Humane Society will hold an emergency rabies vaccination clinic at the animal shelter on Saturday, June 29, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost is $8 per vaccination. The animal shelter is located at 962 Cane River School Road. Call 682-9510.