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Raccoon becomes second case of rabies in county in 2016

A rabid raccoon found April 13 in the Avant community has become the second case of rabies for the year in Butler County, according to the county health department.

Public health officials are encouraging county residents to take “basic, but extremely important precautions” to avoid exposure to rabies.

Residents are urged to take the following preventative measures:

• 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 around your house.

• 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.

• Instruct 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 an animal.

According to public health officials, Butler County has experienced an increase in the number of bites by domestic animals in the past few months.

A person who is bitten or scratched by an animal should wash wounds immediately with mild soap and water, apply first aid, and seek medical attention or contact the county health department immediately. Rabies is preventable in humans following exposure if treatment is provided in a timely manner.

Alabama state law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets 12 weeks of age and older be kept current with rabies vaccination. Rabies vaccines are also available for horses and other livestock if recommended by a veterinarian. Vaccinating animals reduces the risk of rabies infection should an exposure occur, thus vaccination helps protect the animals, as well as their owners and caretakers.

For more information, log on to www.adph.org or contact the Alabama Department of Public Health, Bureau of Communicable Disease, Infectious Diseases and Outbreaks Division, at 1-800-338-8734, or Jim Wood or Stacy L. Williamson at the Butler County Health Department at (334) 382-3154.