Second case of rabies confirmed this year

A bat captured in Stone Mountain has tested positive for rabies, according to animal enforcement officials.

The bat, captured on Sept. 24 in the Holly Hedge Road area of Stone Mountain, is the second confirmed positive rabies case reported this year. In April, officials with DeKalb County Animal Control said a stray chihuahua that was picked up in the Constitution Road area later tested positive for rabies.

“Rabies is a disease that affects the brain,” stated officials. “It’s usually passed from animal to animal but can be passed from animals to people. The virus is spread through saliva, usually from a bite of an animal that has the disease.”

According to the state of Georgia’s website, Georgia is a rabies endemic state and the virus is present all year long. In Georgia, rabies occurs primarily in wild mammals such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats, the website states.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “animals with rabies may show a variety of signs, including fearfulness, aggression, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, staggering, paralysis, and seizures. Aggressive behavior is common, but rabid animals may also be uncharacteristically affectionate. Rabid wild animals may lose their natural fear of humans, and display unusual behavior; for example, an animal that is usually only seen at night may be seen wandering in the daytime.”

There is no treatment once the clinical signs of rabies appear, stated the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website.

Vaccinations are effective in protecting humans and pets from the virus, stated officials. Residents are responsible for vaccinating pets every year and registering the tag with DeKalb County Animal Control in accordance with county ordinances.

“Residents should make sure pets are up to date for preventative vaccination and should eliminate outdoor feeding stations and access to garbage cans,” stated officials. “Anyone who has been bitten or scratched by an animal should seek medical attention immediately. Additionally, residents are advised to watch pets and contact DeKalb County Animal Control if unusual behavior occurs. Wild animal trapping will only occur if a domestic pet or person has been bitten or scratched.”

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