Rabies case confirmed

Published 10:40 am Thursday, January 5, 2012

MURFREESBORO – A case of rabies has been confirmed near here.

Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan and Interim Health Department co-director Romona Bowser confirmed the case of rabies in a bobcat that was killed Dec. 19 in Maney’s Neck Mobile Home Park.

According to Vaughan, a dog in the mobile home park was attacked by the bobcat, but managed to kill the animal. The bobcat subsequently tested positive for rabies.

“We sent the bobcat’s head to Raleigh to have it tested and it was positive,” Vaughan said. “We let everyone in the area know what happened.”

In addition to alerting those residing in the neighborhood, Vaughan said Hertford County Animal Control and PAWS of Hertford County conducted a free mobile rabies clinic in the Maney’s Neck community on Dec. 31. During that clinic, 29 dogs and cats received one-year rabies vaccines. (See story, page 3A)

On that same date, a Como man shot and killed a bobcat that entered his yard exhibiting abnormal behavior, according to the Sheriff. Assistant Animal Control Officer Jessica Hoggard retrieved the bobcat’s body and has submitted a tissue sample to the North Carolina Department of Veterinary Medicine for rabies testing.

“We encourage all community residents to urge caution around wild animals, particularly any which exhibit certain behaviors, including little fear of humans, unusual friendliness, agitation or unfocused aggression, partial paralysis or lying down.”

Vaughan also offered a reminder that North Carolina law requires dogs, cats and ferrets have current rabies vaccinations.

Any mammal can get rabies, including humans, dogs, cats or horses. It is most commonly found in raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats, beavers and bobcats.

Anyone who has been bitten or scratched by a suspected rabid animal or had the animal’s saliva enter the eyes, mouth, nose or broken skin should wash the area with soap and water and seek immediate medical attention.

If a pet has been suspected to have come into contact with the disease, put on gloves before handling the animal, wrap the animal in a towel and take it to a veterinarian. Also, contact Animal Control. It may take two weeks to six months for symptoms to appear.

The dog that fought off the bobcat was also euthanized because the owner could not provide proper vaccination documentation.