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13th Rabies Case Reported This Year in Orange County

By Danny Hooley Posted May 22, 2014 at 6:11 pm

A rabid bat landed on a Chapel Hill woman’s shoe while she was outside gardening on Monday evening.

 “She trapped the bat, as we would like to have happen, ideally in situations of this kind,” says Director of Orange County Animal Services Bob Marotto, “and called us to remove the bat for testing. And we submitted it to the state Public Health Laboratory.

“And the lab confirmed that the bat was rabid.”

It’s the thirteenth positive test for rabies in Orange County this year.

 The Orange County Health Department will determine whether the woman will need a shot to protect her from rabies.

She owns a cat that could also have been in danger of exposure to the rabid bat.

Fortunately, the feline was up-to-date on its rabies shot. If not, the consequences could have been heartbreaking for the pet’s owner.

“An unvaccinated animal must either be euthanized, or destroyed, or quarantined for up to six months, which usually means at a veterinary clinic at the cost of the owner.” says Marotto. “Those are requirements, not only of public health, but of North Carolina general statutes. And it is a very, very difficult situation for everyone involved.”

As it is, the cat will merely need to be re-vaccinated, just to be on the safe side.

Marotto reminds owners of cats, dogs and ferrets, in particular, to keep their pets up-to-date with rabies vaccinations.

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