A raccoon scratched and bit a resident while she was standing in her driveway in the Island Club area of St. Simons Island on Sunday, July 8. Although the raccoon has not been caught, the actions of the animal indicate that it likely has rabies. The resident is seeking follow-up care from her healthcare provider.
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. The Glynn County Environmental Health office offers these tips to protect you 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 year 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.
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. Warmer weather increases the possibility of coming across wild animals – many of which can carry rabies – so residents are encouraged to be especially vigilant during summer months.
If an animal ever bites you, seek medical care immediately and contact Glynn County Animal Control at 912-554-7500 and the Glynn County Environmental Health office at 279-2940.