There have been two confirmed cases of rabies in McDuffie County in recent weeks and at least two other possible cases that have health officials awaiting test results on the animals in question.
A raccoon that was shot and killed by a Randall-Hunt Road resident near Boneville Road on July 12 tested positive for rabies, according to McDuffie County Health Department's Environmental Health Specialist Tim Mosley.
The raccoon was found in a kennel with five dogs. After the resident killed the raccoon, it was sent off to the Georgia Public Health Lab for testing, and positive results were confirmed on July 15.
Each of the dogs has up-to-date vaccinations, but Mr. Mosley stated in a press release that they are under a mandatory 45-day observation period in case symptoms of the disease become evident.
Also a fox tested positive for rabies after attacking a 45-year-old McDuffie County woman on County Line Road near Larkin Road on July 20. The victim was bitten on the hands and on the lower right leg. The fox also attacked the victim's dog.
Someone else shot and killed the fox in the incident, and Mr. Mosley said positive results on the rabies test came back on July 22. He also said that the victim is undergoing treatments for the disease.
Two pit bull terriers were put down last week after one bit a man on Adams Avenue and another attacked a horse on Sagamore Drive. Mr. Mosley said it should be a few days before test results come back on the dogs.
In the meantime, Health Department officials urge all McDuffie County residents to have their pets vaccinated by a registered veterinarian. They also advise residents to avoid contact with wild animals, but request that any such contact be reported by calling (706) 595-1740.
The last official case of rabies in McDuffie County before the most recent two involved a raccoon on Central Road and occurred in January of 2004.