Environmental Health investigates all reported bites and possible rabies exposure. We also work with area veterinary offices to educate pet owners on the importance of rabies vaccinations. Several species of wild animals that are native to coastal Georgia – including raccoons, foxes, and bats – can carry rabies. Rabies is a potentially deadly virus that is primarily spread by infected animals.
Symptoms of rabies in animals include a change in behavior, biting, aggression, showing no fear of natural enemies (such as humans), foaming at the mouth, and paralysis.
Protect yourself and your family from rabies:
• Avoid contact with animals you don’t know.
• Make sure your pets receive the proper immunizations. Dogs and cats should get rabies vaccines by four months of age, followed by a booster shot one year later, and another one every one to three years as prescribed by your veterinarian.
• Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or by leaving pet food out at night.
• Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or a properly licensed animal rescue agency for assistance.
• Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to learn.
If an animal ever bites you, seek medical care immediately and contact your local animal control agency and county Environmental Health Offices.
By Georgia Law, most native species of wildlife cannot be held without permits or licenses. Find out more at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division website.
Click HERE to view the latest version of the Georgia Rabies Control Manual.