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Two rabid animals in Raleigh this week. How to get a low-cost vaccine this weekend

News & Observer - 5/1/2024

Two rabid wild animals were found in Raleigh this week.

A rabid foxhad “contact” with a person on Pineland Circle, off of Western Boulevard in west Raleigh. It’s less than a tenth of a mile from where a child was bit by a rabid fox earlier this year.

The second animal, a dead bat,was found on Calorie Court, near the Lake Park area in northwest Raleigh.

The fox was euthanized and both animals were sent for testing,which came back positive for rabies, the Raleigh Police Department said in a news release.

What is rabies?

The viral disease can spread to people and pets that are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal, often bats, raccoons and foxes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What’s the danger?

If untreated, rabies infects the nervous system of animals and people. A person who gets rabies and is not treated can experience flu-like symptoms that eventually progress into delirium, abnormal behavior, fear of water and insomnia.

“Once clinical signs of rabies appear, the disease is nearly always fatal, and treatment is typically supportive,” according to the CDC. “Less than 20 cases of human survival from clinical rabies have been documented.”

When an animal is bit or scratched, the virus can take weeks to affect the brain and spinal cord. Once it reaches the brain, it passes to the salivary glands and the animal begins to show signs of the disease. Usually animals die within 10 days of showing signs of being sick.

How can you prevent rabies?

People should avoid wild animals and teach children to do the same. Stray animals acting strangely should be reported to a local animal control office, according to Wake County.

But what does “strange” look like in wild animals? The CDC provides a few examples:

North Carolina also participates in a federal program to give oral rabies vaccine coated in fishmeal to raccoons in the western part of the state.

How much does it cost to get a rabies vaccine?

State law requires dogs, cats and ferrets get a rabies vaccine.

The vaccine can range in price from $30 to $100 depending on if it’s for one or three years. Veterinarians often require a wellness exam or charge an office fee that can add another $50 to $75.

Are there low-cost options? Yes, but they take a bit of planning to use. Wake County Animal Services just held four community days in March and April. And some area nonprofits, like the SPCA of Wake County, hold low-cost clinics that are shared on social media and their websites.

Raleigh Animal Control will hold a low-cost rabies clinic from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at Roberts Park, 1300 E. Martin St. One-year rabies vaccinations are $5 and pets can be microchipped and get a distemper shot for free. The event is cash only.

Other upcoming clinics:

How dangerous are bats?

Most bats don’t have rabies, but they are the leading cause of rabies deaths for people in the United States, according to the CDC.

Bats bites can be small and people may not always know they’ve been exposed.

“If you wake up with a bat in your room, you may have been exposed to rabies and should see your doctor or call your health department, even if you don’t feel a bite,” according to the CDC. “Healthcare providers will conduct a risk assessment to determine if you need rabies vaccination.”

If the bat can be captured and tests negative for rabies, a person may not need a rabies vaccination.

May is the start of bat roosting season and bats may be able to get in small holes in attics and chimneys. People who need to have bats removed can find a wildlife control agent for their area by visiting ncwildlife.org.

©2024 Raleigh News & Observer. Visit newsobserver.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.