Local News

Skunk is 20th rabies case in Orange County

Posted September 18, 2014 3:49 p.m. EDT
Updated September 18, 2014 4:40 p.m. EDT

— An infected skunk is Orange County's 20th positive rabies case this year, officials said Thursday.

The skunk was found Tuesday by an Efland resident who noticed an extra animal in her dog's pen when she went outside to feed it.

Animal control officers were called to remove the skunk, and lab results on Thursday confirmed it carried rabies, according to Orange County Animal Services.

The dog, authorities said, was not up to date on its rabies vaccination. State law requires the dog either be quarantined for six months, at the owner's expense, or be euthanized.

Dogs or cats with a current rabies vaccination must only receive a booster shot within five days of suspected exposure.

"Prevention is the best measure for effective rabies control for pets and people alike," Animal Services director Bob Marottosaid. "Ensuring cats, dogs and ferrets are current on their rabies vaccinations is one of the most important responsibilities of a pet owner, since it can quite literally be the difference between life and death for their pet and protect the public from rabies."

Marotto said skunks are not dominant hosts of rabies and that it most likely contracted the disease from a raccoon – something known as a "spillover effect," because dogs, cats, groundhogs and foxes are most susceptible to getting rabies from raccoons.

Orange County's 15th positive rabies case this year involved an infected bat.

The county is hosting a low-cost rabies vaccination clinic from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25 at the Public Market House, 144 East Margaret Lane, Hillsborough. Vaccinations cost $10.

For more information, call Animal Services at 919-942-7387 or visit the department's website for more clinic dates.