State health officials want you to be aware of rabies in raccoons.
The Alabama Department of Public Health recently searched for rabies in the raccoon population near Columbiana in Shelby County.
The information revealed three positive cases.
The raccoons were found in a 2-mile area around the Beeswax Creek boat launch area.
The surveillance began in response to a rabid puppy found in February that was confirmed to be infected with a raccoon variant of the rabies virus.
The primary concern is that these positive cases have been found in an area where raccoon rabies is not typically found.
Dr. Dee W. Jones, State Public Health Veterinarian, states, "When positives are found, there is an action plan in place to widen the surveillance area until no positives are being found, which gives a better assurance that the virus has been contained."
In the meantime, according to Dr. Jones, the best way to protect yourself and pets is to keep the pets currently vaccinated against rabies. "It is important for people to take precautions, such as avoiding wildlife and other unknown animals that may have been previously exposed and could be shedding the rabies in their saliva."
To protect yourself, your family and your pets from exposure to the rabies virus, you should follow these precautions.
For additional information please contact the Alabama Department of Public Health, Bureau of Communicable Disease, Division of Epidemiology, at 1-800-677-0939.
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