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Suspected Rabies Case in Bat in Cumberland County

Suspected Rabies Case in Bat in Cumberland County

 FAYETTEVILLE – This afternoon the State Public Health Lab in Raleigh reported an “unsatisfactory result” of rabies in a bat found in Cumberland County. For public health and safety reasons, Animal Control and Public Health officials are treating this as a positive case although test results were inconclusive.

Animal Control picked up a dead bat from a residence on Turnpike Road located off Raeford Road on June 14. A resident found the bat in the bedroom and killed it with a broom. The bat was then picked up and sent for testing where results came back unsatisfactory. Animal Control is contacting the resident to inform about the test. No pets reside in the home.

This is the first rabies case in the county since Jan. 1.

All pet owners are urged to check the vaccination status of their pets. If pets are not vaccinated or are due for a booster shot, they should be taken to a local veterinarian for rabies vaccination immediately.

 The first sign of rabies in animals is a change in behavior. Animals may become aggressive, attacking for no reason, or they may become very quiet. Wild animals can lose their fear of people and act tame. Rabid animals may walk in a circle, drag a leg, or fall over. Some cannot swallow so they are not able to eat or drink and often drool. Animals usually die within a week after first becoming ill.

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 321-6852 Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Call the Sheriff’s Office at 323-1500 after 5 p.m., weekends and holidays.
  • Go to the emergency room.

It is also important to vaccinate your pets for rabies and keep their shots current.  Pet owners are reminded that all dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies, as required by state law.  Pet owners are subject to a fine of $100 for each unvaccinated dog or cat.  Pets must be vaccinated when they reach the age of four months.