ASHLAND, AL - In a concerning development, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has reported a second case of rabies in wildlife within the Ashland area. This latest case involves a raccoon, and it comes on the heels of a previous case involving a fox just two weeks ago, raising concerns about a potential pattern.
Both of these cases are causing alarm not only among wildlife enthusiasts but also among pet owners. The ADPH suspects a connection between these incidents and is taking immediate action to safeguard the community.
The first case, involving a fox, set Ashland's residents on high alert. Now, with a second positive identification of rabies, it's clear that this issue requires swift attention.
Dr. Dee Jones, the State Public Health Veterinarian, emphasizes the importance of keeping pets up to date on their rabies vaccines. In her words:
Vaccinating your animals against rabies is the best way to keep your pets protected from the deadly virus. Animal vaccinations also help protect people. People are often exposed when the animal first becomes sick and before rabies can be confirmed."
Under Alabama law, dogs, cats, and ferrets must be vaccinated at three months of age and annually unless they receive a three-year rabies vaccine. It's worth noting that the first rabies vaccination is only valid for one year, regardless of the type of vaccine administered.
The ADPH is actively working alongside the county rabies officer to craft a comprehensive vaccination strategy for animals in the affected area. This strategy will be unveiled soon, and it aims to provide the best protection for both pets and their owners.
As a preventive measure, pet owners are encouraged to take several precautions:
Keep pets confined
Ensure that your pets are securely confined within a fenced area or on a leash to prevent contact with potentially rabid wildlife.
Dispose of uneaten pet food
Avoid leaving pet food or scraps outside near your residence, as this can attract wildlife.
Avoid illegal wildlife interaction
Do not attempt to feed or keep wildlife as pets, as this can lead to unpredictable encounters.
Stay away from wildlife and domestic animals that exhibit strange or unusual behavior. Report any such sightings to the authorities.
Teach children to steer clear of stray or wild animals, no matter how friendly they may appear.
In these uncertain times, vigilance is key. To stay informed about rabies and its prevention, visit the ADPH's Rabies website. And remember, when it comes to rabies, prevention is the best cure. Keep your pets protected and report any unusual animal behavior promptly. Your furry friends will thank you, and so will your community.
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