Orange County Animal Services reported a positive rabies test on Friday, the fourth of the year so far.

The latest incident occurred on Thursday in Hurdle Mills, when a resident called to report a skunk that was “interacting aggressively with livestock.” Animal Control removed the skunk, which later tested positive for rabies.

Thursday’s incident is the fourth positive rabies test of the year in Orange County, matching the total from 2022. The frequency can be cyclical, but in recent years rabies has been far less prevalent locally than in years past: in 1997, for instance, Orange County reported 106 positive tests. Rabies is often found in skunks, but bats are the most common host species locally.

While no pets were exposed to rabies in this case, animal officials are reminding everyone to make sure your pets are updated on their rabies vaccine.

DID YOU KNOW? (courtesy of Orange County Animal Services)

  1. Rabies virus can be transmitted through secondary saliva exposure when handling an animal, so do not touch your pet without gloves if it has had any possible exposure to rabies.
  2. It is a law in North Carolina that dogs, cats and ferrets older than four months must have a current and valid rabies vaccination at all times.
  3. If a rabies suspect animal is alive, do not attempt to capture the animal. Keep visual contact with the animal until an Animal Control Officer arrives.
  4. If you discover a bat inside your house, be sure not to release it, but do remove yourself and any animals from the area.
  5. Always call Orange County Animal Control immediately if you find a bat in your home even if there is no evidence of a bite.

Orange County hosts periodic low-cost rabies vaccination clinics for dogs and cats. For information on upcoming clinics, click here.


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