Durham, N.C. — The Durham County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday advised residents to have all pets vaccinated for rabies after investigators confirmed the county's first case in a dead raccoon.
Investigators responded to a home in the 2300 block of Strawberry Lane in Durham Jan. 29 after a resident reported finding a dead raccoon in her yard.
The raccoon, which appeared to have been killed by another animal, was taken to the N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health and tested for rabies, authorities said. Two days later, a lab confirmed the raccoon had been infected with rabies.
Shortly after announcing the first case of rabies, the county received word Tuesday of a second confirmed case.
A resident in the 2300 block of Alabama Avenue called animal services officers Saturday to report a dead raccoon in his yard. The state lab confirmed the animal had rabies.
Durham County had no confirmed cases of rabies in 2012.
"This is an excellent example of why we encourage people to keep their pets current on the rabies vaccine," Lt. Brendan Hartigan, of the sheriff's office's Animal Services Division, said in a statement. "You never know if your dog or cat might encounter a wild animal that's infected with rabies."
The Animal Services Division, located at 3005 Glenn Rd. in Durham, offers rabies vaccines every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m. No appointments are necessary, but photo identification is required and the $15 fee must be paid in cash.
Avoiding wild animals and keeping your distance from stray dogs and cats is the first step in preventing an animal bite. Any pet which appears to have been in a fight while outside should be handled very cautiously and seen by a veterinarian.
If you are bitten or scratched by an animal:
- Immediately wash the wound under running water for at least 10 minutes with lots of soap. Seek medical attention/advice.
- Call animal control at 919-560-0630 Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Call the sheriff’s office at 919-560-0900 after 5 p.m., weekends and holidays.
- Go to the emergency room.