GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — After a person was attacked by a rabid cat, Gwinnett County officials are warning residents to beware of other animals that may be acting oddly.
Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement, along with the county health department, issued a warning Monday advising people to avoid animals that may be "behaving in unusual ways."
The cautionary alert comes after a person was attacked by a rabid cat last week along Luke Edwards Road in Dacula. Animal services officials caught the cat and took it to a shelter where it tested positive for rabies, according to county officials.
Health department leaders are reminding people that rabies can be transmitted to humans and pets through bites or scratches from wild animals such as foxes and raccoons.
"Therefore, all pet owners are strongly advised to ensure their pets are current on the rabies vaccination," Gwinnett County leaders said in a news release.
Citing the National Association of State Health Veterinarians, county leaders said unvaccinated dogs and cats exposed to a rabid animal must be strictly quarantined for four months and vaccinated one month prior to being released.
As for people, those impacted by rabies may experience initial symptoms of fever, headache or weakness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Someone who believes they've been exposed to rabies is advised to seek medical attention and then contact the Gwinnett County Health Department at 770-339-4260 and request to speak with the on-call epidemiologist. To report the animal and have it picked up, please call the Gwinnett Animal Welfare and Enforcement Bite Office at 770-339-3200 ext. 5576; for after-hours assistance, contact non-emergency Dispatch at 770-513-5700.
Tips to protect against rabies
- The following tips may help you protect yourself and your family from rabies:
- Ensure your pets receive regular rabies vaccinations.
- Keep your pets on your property.
- Avoid leaving garbage or pet food outside, as it may attract wild or stray animals.
- Report any animal acting unusually to Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement. They may display strange or unusual behavior. They may also act aggressively, avoid food and water, foam at the mouth, have trouble moving or move in a stiff, odd way. Stay away from any unknown animals, especially wildlife.
- Stay away from wild, sick, hurt or dead animals. Do not pick up or move sick or hurt animals.
- Do not keep wild animals like raccoons, skunks, foxes and coyotes as pets, as it is both dangerous and illegal.
- Teach your children not to go near, tease or play with wild animals or strange dogs and cats.