WENDELL — Wake County issued a rabies warning to Wendell residents last week after a rabid raccoon came in contact with a dog.
The countys warnings are blanket warnings, and although the incident that prompted the warning occurred near Wood Green Drive and Deer Lake Trail, the county stressed the importance of all residents keeping themselves and pets safe.
We dont want to alarm residents in Wendell, but they should be aware of these cases and of the potential for exposure to themselves, family members and their pets, said Sue Lynn Ledford, community health director for Wake County.
A dog that had direct contact with the raccoon did not have a rabies vaccination and the owners decided to euthanize it. State law requires any animals that come in contact with rabies to be put down unless the owner agrees to a six-month quarantine.
All pets are required by law to receive the rabies vaccination. Vaccinating your pets is critical in helping prevent the spread of disease, said Wake environmental services director Joseph Threadcraft in a release.
The county advises pet owners to keep their pets inside unless they have a booster rabies shot. The county also said pet owners should try to keep animals food inside or in a sealed container if it has to be outside.
In North Carolina, most cases of rabies cases originate in raccoons. According to data from the North Carolina Public Health department, in 2012, 205 raccoons were found to carry rabies.
In 2013, Wake County had the fourth-highest number of rabies cases with 15. Most of the cases involved foxes, raccoons and bats.
Across the state, Mecklenburg County had the most rabies cases in 2013, with 20. Guilford County was second, with 19 and Robeson County was third, with 17 cases.