CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Caldwell County confirmed their second rabies case of the year on August 23.
Caldwell County Animal Control was notified Friday that a bat found in a Colletsville residence was submitted for testing and found infected with the rabies virus.
This rabies case is reported only two weeks after a rabid fox from the Green Mountain Park area of Lenoir was submitted for testing on August 9.
According to the Caldwell County Health Department, rabies is a viral disease of the central nervous system that is almost always fatal once symptoms begin. The virus is found in the saliva of the infected animal and is usually transmitted by a bite or scratch. Rabies is common in NC wildlife such as raccoons, foxes, skunks, and bats.
In 2018 alone there were 142 rabid raccoons and 55 rabid foxes identified in the state. There were also 24 rabid bats and 56 rabid skunks identified.
These animals can transmit rabies to dogs and cats. Last year 13 cats and 3 dogs were identified with rabies. Because rabies is fatal and can also be transmitted to people, vaccination of dogs and cats against rabies is required by law in NC.
The Caldwell County Health Department offers tips on how residents can keep themselves and their pets safe from rabies:
- Make sure all your companion animals are up to date on their rabies vaccinations. They should always wear their license tags.
- Supervise your pets to prevent exposure.
- If a bat is found inside your home, you should contact Animal Control.
- If your animal is exposed to a potentially rabid animal wear gloves to protect yourself from the infectious saliva that may be on your animal’s coat.
- Teach your children to stay away from wild animals, including bats or animals they don’t know.
- Avoid attracting wildlife to your home by removing food sources such as food scraps and removing cat and dog food at night.
If there are any questions concerning rabies and/or receiving a rabies vaccination, please contact the Animal Control Division of the Caldwell County Health Department at 828-757-8625.