GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Gwinnett County Health Department officials are warning residents to be on the lookout for any animals behaving unusually after a raccoon was discovered with rabies earlier this week.
The raccoon was taken in for testing after it was attacked by several dogs in a wooded area along Buford Highway in Buford on Tuesday. Officials said the raccoon tested positive for the rabies virus after being picked up by the Gwinnett Animal Welfare and Enforcement.
Foxes, raccoons and other critters are known for carrying diseases such as rabies, which can easily spread to humans and animals via a scratch or bite.
Health officials urged all pet owners to ensure their pets are updated on the current rabies vaccinations. If a dog or cat gets rabies and is unvaccinated, they must be "strictly quarantined" for four months. They must receive the rabies vaccination one month before leaving quarantine, according to officials.
Here's how you can help protect yourself and your pets against rabies:
- Be sure your pets get their regularly-scheduled rabies shots
- Don't let your pets stray from your property unsupervised
- Don't leave pet food or other garbage outside -- it can attract animals that carry the disease
- Report any animal displaying strange or odd behavior to Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement -- strange behavior can include: acting aggressively, foaming at the mouth, not eating or drinking for periods of time, and having trouble moving or being stiff
- Don't let pets near wild, sick, injured or dead animals
- Don't let your children play with wild or stray animals