May 18, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Georgia Public Health Laboratory (GPHL) has confirmed that a fox from Lamar County recently tested positive for rabies. The Lamar County Sheriff’s Office retrieved the fox in the vicinity of Grape Creek Road and Martin Dairy Road after an incident involving two residents of Lamar County. The Lamar County Environmental Health Office sent the fox for testing on Thursday May 12. Post Exposure Prophylaxis to prevent human rabies has been initiated in both victims.
There have been six animals total sent in to the GPHL in the past 12 months in Lamar County; this is the first case to have positive results.
Residents who have questions or concerns may contact Eric Hooper, Lamar County’s environmental health specialist, at (770) 358-1483.
All residents are encouraged to take precautions to protect their families and pets against rabies by learning signs of rabies and vaccinating pets.
Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals that is most often spread through the bite of an animal that is infected with the disease. Rabies infects the central nervous system, causing encephalopathy (a disease of the brain) and, ultimately, death. Early symptoms of the disease include fever and headache. As the disease progresses, neurological symptoms appear and may include insomnia, confusion, hallucinations, a slight or partial paralysis, hyper salivation, and/or difficulty swallowing.
“If you notice a wild or nocturnal animal moving about in the daytime, and the animal appears to show no fear of people or the animal seems to behave in a sick or abnormal way, the animal may be infected with rabies,” said Melinda Knight, District 4 Environmental Health Director. “People should avoid animals acting out of character and report it to animal control or local environmental health office.”
Treatment and prevention practices for rabies have proven to be almost 100 percent effective when initiated promptly. Please report any bite, scratch, or other contact with a wild animal to your local environmental health office.
“It is important to remember that although rabies occurs more often in wildlife, domestic animals like the family dog or cat can become infected as well. I strongly encourage owners to have all pets vaccinated to prevent rabies,” said Seth Woodrow, District Environmental Health Deputy Director.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the majority of rabies cases reported annually occur in wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats. For more information about rabies, please contact your local animal control office, county environmental health office, or visit the Georgia Division of Public Health or the CDC.