New River Health District reports first case of animal rabies in NRV this year

(NEWPORT, Va.) – A skunk collected Friday, Feb. 23, 2018 from Albert Meredith Lane off Spruce Run Road in the Newport area of Giles County has tested positive for rabies, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

This is the first confirmed case of animal rabies in Giles County and all of the New River Health District this year.

Rabies exposure to this skunk were reported for one human and one domestic animal, and the health department asks any residents who may have come in contact with a skunk or any other suspicious animal to contact the Giles County Health Department (540-235-3135) or Giles County Animal Control (540-921-3842).

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. It is almost always fatal, unless preventive treatment is administered before symptoms develop. “It’s important to seek medical attention promptly after being exposed,” said Noelle Bissell, M.D., director of the New River Health District.

The New River Health District encourages everyone to have their pets vaccinated to protect not only their pets, but themselves, their families and the community from rabies. Pet owners are reminded that Virginia Law requires domestic animals be vaccinated against rabies.

In addition to keeping your pets vaccinated, the New River Health District strongly advises that people take these steps to protect family members and pets from rabies:

  • Avoid contact with wild animals or stray cats and dogs;
  • Do not feed wild animals or stray cats and dogs;
  • Report stray animals to your local animal control agency;
  • Eliminate outdoor food sources around the home; and
  • Keep pets confined to your property or walk them on a leash.

For more information, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/DEE/Rabies or call the Giles County Health Department at 540-235-3135.

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