WATAUGA COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A case of Rabies has been confirmed in Watauga county Friday evening.
According to the Appalachian District Health Department, the public health staff and Watauga County Animal Control, officials have notified the community in and around the Crystal Mountain community in Watauga County of a single confirmed rabies case.
This case involved contact with a stray kitten that has resulted in suspected rabies exposure to those who had direct contact from Nov. 17 through Nov. 25.
County officials say they are working to make sure anyone who may have been exposed gets immediate guidance.
The local public health communicable disease staff will be helping those affected get the recommended treatment needed as soon as possible.
The rabies virus is shed through an infected animal’s saliva.
If a dog or cat is attacked by a raccoon or wild animal, pet owners are advised to wait until the animal dries completely before handling it.
The virus dies when the saliva dries out.
Pet owners are advised to always wear gloves, and once the animal is dry, clean the pet with soap or a detergent.
Pet owners are advised to wash their hands thoroughly after handling the animal.
“Rabies is a terrible, but preventable viral disease that is fatal if not treated promptly, and contact with stray animals may put you and your family at risk. It is best to be cautious and avoid direct contact with unfamiliar animals,” stated Jennifer Greene, Health Director at Appalachian District Health Department.
If you see a stray, sick, or aggressive raccoon or other animal in your area, immediately contact the Watauga County Animal Control office at 828-262-1672.
Pet owners should spay and neuter their pets and keep their rabies vaccination up to date.
For additional information about rabies, visit the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s website.