Dog in Elmore County tests positive for rabies

The Alabama Department of Public Health reports that a dog tested positive for rabies in...
The Alabama Department of Public Health reports that a dog tested positive for rabies in Elmore County.((Source: via Flickr))
Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 3:34 PM CST
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ELMORE, Ala. (WSFA) - A rabies case in Elmore County has prompted state health officials to remind the public that the disease is out there, so stay cautious.

The Alabama Department of Public Health reports that a family dog in the Harris Road area of Elmore contracted rabies, exposing the household. Everyone in the home is undergoing prevention treatment.

The dog’s rabies diagnosis was confirmed by ADPH following an exam by a local veterinarian.

Health officials say the dog, described as a beagle-mix, was not vaccinated. It was not kept in an enclosure and reportedly had some contact with strays in the area.

This case of rabies follows another case in Elmore County a couple of weeks ago. That one was in the Titus community.

There were also at least two cases of rabid cats in the Prattville area last year.

State health officials are investigating any potential exposure to the animal so they can notify those individuals of the proper treatment to prevent possible human transmission.

“First and foremost, our concern is identifying any person or animal that may have had direct contact with an infected animal, so preventative treatment is needed. The nature of the risks of human exposure to rabies has dramatically declined over the last 60 years or so, but since the virus is still seen frequently in raccoons, that the risk is still relevant,” said state public health veterinarian Dr. Dee W. Jones.

Jones says ADPH is sharing information with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plus state and federal wildlife officials, to assess the origin of the rabies strain and to better understand its spread.

ADPH is reminding pet owners that rabies vaccinations are required in Alabama. In addition to vaccination, area residents are advised to take the following precautions to avoid possible exposure:

  • Do not allow pets to run loose. Confine them within a fenced-in area or with a leash.
  • Do not leave uneaten pet food or scraps near your residence.
  • Do not illegally feed or keep wildlife as pets.
  • Do not go near wildlife or domestic animals that are acting in a strange or unusual manner.
  • Caution children not to go near any stray or wild animal, regardless of its behavior.
  • Advise children to tell an adult if they are bitten or scratched by any animal.

A person who is bitten or scratched by an animal should wash the wounds immediately with mild soap and water, apply first aid, then seek medical attention or contact the county health department immediately.

For more information about rabies and prevention, you may contact ADPH online or at 334-206-5969.

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