The Lee County Health Department has confirmed that a skunk collected Feb. 22 from the Horton Road area of Jonesville tested positive for rabies infection.
This is the first confirmed case of animal rabies in Lee County since 2011.
According to Brad Stallard, environmental health manager for the Lenowisco Health District (Virginia Department of Health), the skunk was collected by Lee County Animal Control and there are no reports of any human or domestic animal exposure. The skunk was tested and confirmed to be rabid by the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Virginia Department of Health asks that residents immediately notify the Lee County Health Department at 276-345-2011 if they have pets that have been or may have been exposed to this skunk, or to report any other suspicious animal.
Dr. Cantrell, director of the Lenowisco Health District, says “Rabies in humans is nearly always fatal once symptoms appear. It is best prevented by identifying persons who have been exposed to a rabid animal and treating them appropriately with rabies immune globulin and vaccination as soon as possible after the exposure and before any symptoms develop.”
The Lenowisco Health District strongly recommends the following steps to prevent families and pets from being exposed to rabies:
Vaccinate all cats, dogs and ferrets against rabies and keep them up to date!
Avoid contact with wild animals or stray cats and dogs.
Do not feed wild animals or stray cats and dogs.
Report stray animals to your local animal control agency.
Eliminate outdoor food sources around the home.
Keep pets confined to your property or walk them on a leash.
For more information concerning rabies, visit the Virginia Department of Health’s Rabies Control and Prevention website at www.vdh.virginia.gov/epi/rabies or call the Lee County Health Department at 276-346-2011.