BEAUREGARD, Ala. (WRBL) – Five people have possibly been exposed to rabies after a raccoon tested positive for the virus this week in the Beauregard community.
Veterinarian Dr. Gary Hunt tells News 3 a dog was exposed when it killed the raccoon on Sunday. Hunt received the test results Thursday. The individuals are undergoing rabies prophylactic treatment, and the dog is quarantined.
Homer Bruce, the Lee County Rabies Officer, said in a news release that the dog had previous rabies vaccinations and was boosted at the time of treatment. Bruce said keeping up-to-date on vaccines is critical to community safety:
“The key here is that the pet had a previous rabies vaccination. This is so important in protecting your pets from rabies and thereby protecting humans from exposure through their pets. Alabama Law requires all dogs, cats and ferrets to be vaccinated at 3 months of age and annually thereafter unless they receive a 3 year vaccine. The first rabies vaccination is only good for 1 year regardless of which vaccine your pet receives. I ask everyone to please check their pet’s rabies vaccination status and to get them boosted immediately if they are not up to date. Contact your veterinarian if you can’t determine your pet’s vaccination status. Please call 334-745-0060 if you have questions.”
Rabies is a human infection that occurs after a transdermal bite or scratch by an infected animal, like dogs and cats. It can be transmitted when infectious material, usually saliva, comes into direct contact with a victim’s fresh skin lesions. Rabies may also occur, though in sporadic cases, through inhalation of virus-containing spray or organ transplants.
Pet owners need to have their animals registered and vaccinated under Alabama law.
Animal bite victims should practice immediate washing of bites with soap and water for at least ten minutes and receive appropriate Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)if need from trained health workers.
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