By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Keep your distance from wild animals to prevent contracting rabies
Placeholder Image
The Effingham County Health Department encourages all residents to take proper precautions against rabies.
Rabies is a deadly virus that can be passed to humans by animals, and raccoons are the primary carriers of the disease. Rabies is almost always fatal if an infected person isn’t treated immediately. In addition, if a pet has not been vaccinated against rabies and is exposed to the rabies virus, the pet must either be euthanized or put under strict, six-month isolation.
“Becoming infected with the rabies virus is something that can absolutely be avoided,” said Darrell O’Neal, Effingham County Health Department environmental health manager. “By taking the proper precautions to protect yourself and your pets, you can minimize the risk of contracting this potentially deadly disease.”
Rabies can be transmitted through the bite, scratch, or saliva of an infected animal.  The disease attacks the central nervous system and is often fatal. Rabies is carried by raccoons, bats, skunks, foxes, and other mammals. Because family pets may encounter wild animals carrying the disease, it is extremely important to get pets vaccinated annually. 
 “Getting your pet vaccinated is easy, inexpensive, and the best way to protect your pets from this disease and it’s the law,” said O’Neal. 
The Effingham County Health Department offers these tips to protect you and your family from rabies:
• Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or by leaving pet food out overnight.
• Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or an animal rescue agency for assistance. 
• Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to learn. 
• Keep vaccinations up to date for all dogs, cats, and ferrets. It’s the law and it’s an important protection for you and your pets.
Call Effingham County Animal Control at 754-2109 to report any animals showing suspicious behavior. Animal Control will work with the Effingham County Health Department to investigate possible cases of rabies. If an animal bites you, seek medical care immediately.