COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) says a raccoon in Columbus tested positive for rabies and advises people to take precautions.

“A raccoon from the forest avenue area in Columbus was tested on April 12, by the state laboratory and found to have rabies,” states GDPH. “If you know of anyone that may have come in contact with a raccoon, contact Columbus Environmental Health Office, and the Columbus Animal Care & Control Center, and have them contact their physician.”

GDPH has strongly advised residents and visitors of the area to take the following precautions:

  • Do not pick up or handle any stray or wild animals.
  • Report any animal bites and/or scratches to Columbus Animal Care & Control Center and the Columbus Environmental Health Office.
  • Contact Columbus Animal Care & Control Center to report any animals which are behaving strangely or aggressively.
  • If your pet or livestock is behaving strangely or is injured contact your local veterinarian immediately.
  • Teach children about the dangers of stray and wild animals.
  • Have all of your dogs and cats vaccinated against rabies!

If you are bitten or scratched by any animal:

  • Wash and rinse the wound thoroughly for several minutes.
  • Apply a disinfectant.
  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Report the bite/scratch to Columbus Animal Care & Control Center or the Columbus Environmental Health Office.

For more information call Columbus Animal Control at 706-653-4512, Columbus Dept. of Public Health/Environmental Health office at 706-321-6170, Georgia Poison Control at 800-222-1222 and for emergencies and after-hours dial 911.